October 11, 2007

Native shoes on Saturday Night Live

Tell your truth to mediaNative people were in the news recently, at the center of a comical debate over the authenticity of a new athletic shoe, the Nike Air Native N7. From The New York Times to the blogosphere to Saturday Night Live, it seemed media everywhere wanted to weigh in about the shoe, the result of a partnership between Nike and the IHS to promote physical activity among Native Americans.

On SNL, the story was a setup to the punch line: "So ... does this mean we're cool now?" The idea is that Indians now have their very own shoe, so maybe they will stop pressing on land claims, federal recognition, treaty rights, trust responsibility, taxes, citizenship and Indian mascots. Sure, it was meant to be funny, but the image of Indian as troublemaker continues to pervade popular media, reinforcing stereotypes and negative attitudes about Indian self-determination.
Comment: See Saturday Night Live Spoofs Indians Well for a previous appearance of Indians on SNL.

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