October 25, 2016

Coppola's Virginia Dare restaurant

Creative take on Native American cooking at Francis Ford Coppola's Werowocomoco

By Carey SweetSome Virginia tribe spokespeople seethed on social media that taking the name for commercial use was an “outrage” and a “disgrace,” especially as the winery location is all about alcohol. On a local level, some critics lamented that the restaurant wasn’t named after a California tribe.

Coppola was annoyed enough by all this that he penned a lengthy article for the San Francisco Chronicle’s opinion pages that fall. He noted that he “shared meals on Indian reservations in Arizona and New Mexico, in private homes and eateries for local people,” and he “formed a council of advisers consisting mainly of Native Americans of different tribes from around the country, to bring authenticity and respect for these traditions.”
A comment from a Facebook posting:At first, I thought this was from The Onion. But no, I looked at the menu, and FFC's restaurant is planning to serve fry bread and salmon sashimi tacos in an apparent reference to a 16th century Virginia colony of English people, who he thinks were somehow "Native American" and, it gets better, ate fry bread centuries before it came into being and...sashimi?? Bizarre and offensive mashup of cultural appropriation.Comment:  Coppola's response seems to support his critics. He's met Indians and eaten in homes around the country? That's why he has an Eastern seaboard restaurant in California with food from the Northwest or the Southwest--not from the Eastern seaboard or California. It sounds like a typical example of pan-Indianism--like "a bizarre and offensive mashup of Indian cultures."

October 11, 2016

Savage Indians on Yale-Dartmouth program

Football programs criticized for racist imagery

Yale apologizes for republishing racist Native American illustrations on football program to mark 100th Dartmouth football game

Yale apologizes for 'dehumanizing' cartoons of Dartmouth mascot

Yale criticized for use of Dartmouth Indian images

ASIMOW: Learn from the past, change the present

Common sense missing from Yale game program

Pedro Martinez's war whoop

Pedro Martinez acts out Native American stereotype after Indians sweep Red Sox, apologizes on Twitter

Pedro Martinez salutes Indians’ sweep of Red Sox with horrible stereotype

I’m Sick Of Left-Wing Politics In My Sports Stories

By Robert PickupMartinez, who is part of the TBS pre- and post-game broadcast, did a Native American war whoop in tribute to the team. Since athletes have compared their competition to battle since forever and Cleveland’s mascot is an Indian, it just makes sense to imitate a war cry after victory.Comment:  It "makes sense to imitate a war cry after victory"...because you think Indians are primitive, warlike savages? Rather than modern people with cellphones and computers? I guess that makes sense...if you're a racist.

October 10, 2016

Fly on Hillary = spirit animal?

A tweet from educator Debbie Reese:In Native American culture, all animals are believed to have totems. When they cross your path unexpectedly, they mean something. So, we looked into what it might have meant that a fly landed on Hillary Clinton's face tonight.Comment:  Reese says CBS News got its info from a New Age website.

I believe CBS has garbled an already garbled claim. The fly on Clinton's face has a totem? What would the fly's totem be...another fly? An eagle? Donald Trump?

The actual claim, I think, is that all people have animal totems. Not that all animals have totems.

Of course, this claim is a false generalization about thousands of Native cultures. It may be true in a few cases--especially in Plains cultures--but I doubt it's widespread. I doubt it applies to everyone even within those cultures.

October 05, 2016

Buffalo God in American Gods comics

AMERICAN GODS Adapted For Comics By DARK HORSE

Comment:  This announcement helpfully includes an image of the figure who's sort of the elder god of the American continent.

A Buffalo God with a Pacific Northwest tattoo and a super-tomahawk? Looks like pan-Indian stereotypes to me.

For more on the subject, see America "Not a Good Country for Gods"?

October 01, 2016

Werewolves excised from Lone Ranger

A Native filmmaker says Disney excised a werewolf plot from Johnny Depp's The Lone Ranger:The tone is bonkers. All the underlying structure of Injun Werewolves is still there... We see Butch Cavendish eat the Lone Ranger's brother's heart, and then the next scene is wacky hijinx with Tonto. Tonto calls Cavendish "Wendigo" all through the film. 200 residents of Tonto's boyhood village were killed by two white men with pistols? No one ran away? They never ran out of bullets? Clearly it was supposed to be a werewolf attack. Helena Bonham Carter's leg was eaten by Cavendish. There are rabbit meat-eating bunny rabbits everywhere. The signs of the excision of the Werewolves are everywhere... and they're typically over the top and unnecessarily violent. They go utterly unexplained, and then are immediately papered over in each case by goofy pratfalls. It's just bizarre. I went in with a truly open mind, and was enjoying it for a while... but then it abruptly got stupid and long and wow was it tedious toward the end. The final action sequence is 30 minutes long, and it's visually amazing... But it comes too late to save a truly confused film.Comment:  Tonto says he's hunting Cavendish because Cavendish is a wendigo--a flesh-eating creature from the northeastern woodlands.

It doens't make sense for a wendigo to be in Texas--the movie's setting. Or in Monument Valley in southern Utah, the movie's actual setting.

It also doesn't make sense for Tonto, supposedly a Comanche Indian, to believe in or care about wendigos. It would be like a Chinese man hunting a Jewish golem. It could happen, but it makes no sense without an elaborate explanation.

I don't know anything about the supposed werewolf subplot. What's left is a villain who's inordinately evil because he's a wendigo--a malevolent spirit in human form. He eats human hearts and massacres whole villages--which isn't much different from your usual mass-murdering bad guy.