January 11, 2008

Phony Indians "honor" real Indians

Mardi Gras tribes ready to suit upMontana is big chief of the Yellow Pocahontas, one of around 60 groups calling themselves the Mardi Gras Indian tribes.

They are revelers of a different sort during the Feb. 5 Mardi Gras celebration, suiting up in colorful, extravagant costumes and swaggering through New Orleans as part of a tradition dating to the mid-1800s.

They aren't Native Americans, but mostly African-Americans who perform the ritual as a tribute to the Chickasaw, Choctaw and other American Indian tribes that once sheltered runaway slaves.
Comment:  The Mardi Gras Indians "honor" real Indians by dressing up in outlandish costumes that make a mockery of real Indian regalia. And by using names such as Yellow Pocahontas that have nothing to do with the Chickasaw or Choctaw.

As far as I'm concerned, these people are stereotyping Indians just like faux-Native mascots stereotype Indians. For more on the subject, see Mardi Gras:  "To be an Indian is a very special calling."

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