August 10, 2009

Indian stereotypes at Fyvie festival

Fyvie tribe highlight Native American link

Organisers of village’s Homecoming Festival promote event

By Alistair Beaton
ORGANISERS of this month’s Fyvie Homecoming Festival were in Aberdeen city centre yesterday flagging up the event, and the village’s historic Dancing With Wolves-style link with a Native American tribe.

A feathered chieftain’s head-dress bobbing colourfully above the heads of shopping crowds in the busy Bon Accord Centre drew attention to a festival stall, and the story of Ludovic Grant of the Cherokee.

Among August 28-30 events will be a Famous Fyvie Folk exhibition in the village school.

Among those featured will be Grant, who was born at nearby Mill of Crichie around 1688. He was transported to the American colonies after supporting the Jacobite cause during the 1715 Uprising.

“It is an intriguing story, and more details have been passed on by descendants who hopefully may attend the festival,” said organising committee chairwoman Anne Iravani, of Tifty Farmhouse. After being exiled, Grant began trading with the Cherokee in the 1720s.

He lived among the tribe for more than 25 years, marrying a chieftain’s daughter.

Grant was trusted by the tribe and helped set up trading posts and led expeditions into the unexplored mountain areas.
Comment:  Let me see if I have this straight. Because a Scotsman named Ludovic Grant joined the southeastern Cherokee in the 1720s, the town of Fyvie is holding a festival honoring its "Dancing With Wolves-style link." Among the sights to be seen at the festival are "a feathered chieftain’s head-dress" and two promoters dressed as cartoon- or Halloween-style Indians.

I guess the festival could be full of genuine Cherokee lore from the 1720s. But I bet most of its Indian lore will consist of Plains Indians stereotypes from the late 19th century.

For more on the subject, see The Basic Indian Stereotypes.

Below:  "Big Impression: Anne Iravani, left, and Alison Wicks promote the Fyvie Homecoming Festival." (Colin Rennie)


Jonathan Williams said...

You are right to question the use of stereotype but of course Ludovic Grant was a Scotsman not an 'Englishman'. You will think this is a trivial distinction but perhaps we aren't the only ones with mistaken ideas about other people and cultures (-;

Adrian Grant said...

It is a little bit arrogant to get indignant on someone else's behalf - especially without asking them first.

Fyvie folk have only just learned of their connection, which has certainly excited them; they are keen to know more. No doubt the Cherokees themselves will disabuse them of any naivete when a delegation visits next year - so please get off your high horse.

Well put Jonathan BTW

Rob said...

The article didn't say where Fyvie was. I guess I assumed it was in England rather than Scotland. My mistake.

Whom do you want me to ask, Adrian? Everyone in America's 560-plus federally recognized tribes? Everyone in the 200 Cherokee splinter groups who claims to have Cherokee ancestors? Who exactly gets to say whether stereotyping all Indians as Plains Indians is wrong?

In other words, you want me to stop expressing my opinions? Because checking with everyone who might care about my opinions in advance would be impossible, of course. There's no conceivable way I could do it.

FYI, a lot of Natives read this blog. More Natives read my opinions when I post them on Facebook and Twitter. If I were running afoul of what they think or feel, I'm sure I'd hear about it.

Instead, the opposite is happening. My postings are steadily gaining popularity on the Web, on Facebook and Twitter, etc. Judging by the growing Native audience and the lack of negative feedback, I'm on the right track.

Adrian Grant said...

Opinions only have a value if they are based on knowledge. You have already admitted that you knew nothing about where Fyvie was, yet that did not stop you opining about it.

Your next comment was based on "I guess...". This is NOT a valid basis for an opinion - a fortiori when that guess is based on.... a NEWSPAPER report!!!

[Since when has that been a reliable source?? On what basis do you suppose it was anyone other than the reporter who introduced the "Dancing with Wolves" idea and what do you suppose he intended to convey thereby???]

And of course it is only you who have introduced the word "Plains". I think it is ridiculous for you to suppose that a handful of grade-school age students (or even the reporter on a local Scottish Newspaper) should have a sophisticated understanding of the nuances of different Indian tribes - especially when they have no good source of information.

As a matter of fact there was nothing in the festival about the Cherokees as such. But Ludovick's connection with them makes him notable amongst those born in the Parish - so he rightly took his place in the school exhibition.

So yes, you are entitled to thought-through opinions - but this is NOT the same as saying that it is responsible of you to go around shouting your mouth off before any grey matter has been engaged.

And I don't agree with your assumption about your soi-disant spokesman-status. Those who think you are an idiot can just ignore you - just as they can Donnie Robinson, aka the "Oukah", who is also prone to parade baseless opinion/fantasy as fact.

Adrian Grant said...

One more thing (in case you missed it): there were NO "Indian Stereotypes" at the Fyvie festival - so you got that wrong too... by making unwarranted assumptions.

Think you know it all?
Hmmm... what do you know??

Sounds like a typical newspaper hack to me.....