January 12, 2010

Debating the hokey Mayokis

In response to Phony "Mayokis" in Pensacola Fiesta, an anonymous reader tried to defend the faux Indians' stupid stereotyping. Here are his comments and my replies:Actually, the local native people were not only invited, they participated for many years in the Fiesta activities. During the DeLuna landing on Pensacola Beach, the Flying Eagle dancers would open the event with a snake dance using a live snake and dancers of all ages.The staged DeLuna landing isn't the parade involving the Mayokis. Indians can participate in one without participating in the other.Also, for many years local native families worked on preparing bells, beading, leg and arm bands and other accessories. They attended our functions, were present at the parades and other activities and were proud to associate with the Mayokis. Unfortunately one family patriarch, a Chief and Medicine Man, died a few years ago. The families went different directions and, with newer members coming into the group, relationships were lost.Local Native families used to work with the Mayokis--when people were less aware of the harm of stereotyping. Now they don't. In other words, the Mayokis have lost the Native support they used to have.

White woman stirred protests?The sad thing is that this sudden concern over the Mayokis raised its ugly head a few years ago, not from a Native American, but from a white female self proclaimed activist. This same person has also been associated with many other activist movements, including being associated with Palestinian liberation. She continued to stir the pot and eventually found a few local native people to join her.

Unfortunately, when engaging in talks with the media and some of these locals, the subject of "donations" constantly came up. This seemed to have more of an extortionist feel rather than concerns over who was offended.
Whether your white activist is seeking donations is irrelevant to me. I'm not seeking donations, and I say the Mayokis are stereotypical. So does Creek hip-hop artist Shadowyze, aka Shawn Enfinger, a Pensacola resident and one-time Grammy nominee. Deal with it and don't try to change the subject.

You say "a few" local Natives now oppose the Mayokis. How many? And how many local Natives still support the Mayokis? From your comments, it sounds like their support has evaporated.

Local Natives also support the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians. Does that mean these team names and mascots aren't stereotypical? No, it means some Natives don't care about stereotypes despite their documented harm. If they want to ignore the problem, that's their prerogative, but I'll stick with the many Natives who do oppose harmful stereotypes.

Natives stay away from "Mayokis"Unfortunately, while many local native people have been contacted and expressed interest in being involved in Fiesta activities, the negative expressions of the few have seemed to keep them away. No one really wants the negative publicity. However, if local native people wish to become involved "again," then I am sure that this would be well received and an accurate representation could be made of Native Americans, in addition to the fictitious Mayoki tribe.As I said, real Natives competing for attention with fake Mayokis would be problematical. Why should they appear "in addition to" the Mayokis? Why don't the Mayokis change or abandon their stereotypical costumes? What exactly is their excuse for continuing to misrepresent and mock Indians?Almost every native race and culture in the world has been concurred, enslaved or expelled by another at some point or another throughout history by some of our ancestors. This includes Native American tribes who would do this same thing to each other. In fact native "warriors" existed way before any outside culture ever arrived. Given the current attitudes, I guess if the Europeans had not arrived, one Native tribe, such the Sioux, might have been protesting and proclaiming insults if a Mohawk wore a Sioux headdress.Yeah, or your ridiculously hypothetical situation might not have happened. But if it did, the Sioux would be within their rights to protest. Stereotypes are wrong even if Natives are the ones perpetuating them.

But really...are you seriously offering the asinine "everyone conquered everyone else" defense? On what moral planet do two wrongs make a right? And what does conquest have to do with stereotyping? Whether some Indians conquered others is irrelevant to the issue I'm tackling here.

Stereotyping is the issue

Stop dodging this issue and start addressing it. Yes or no: Are the Mayokis stereotyping Indians? Answer that and then we'll see if you have a leg to stand on.

Would the Mayokis dress up as half-naked Zulu warriors with grass skirts and bones in their noses? If not, then why are they dressing up as old-fashioned Plains Indians? Portraying Indians using outdated stereotypes is wrong and arguably racist.It is time that we all took the time to look for the good in our fellow man and let go of the hate and resentment that drives much of this world.I don't hate the Mayokis for perpetuating stupid stereotypes. I'm just pointing out their stupidity. If they don't like being labeled stupid, they can stop acting stupid.

Do you feel hate and resentment when you tell your children to stop doing something wrong? Well, neither do I. Correcting your mistakes is no more emotional to me than correcting the typos in your comments. It's like brushing lint off my collar, except it takes more time.

Anyway, no need to thank me for helping you with your sloppy writing and thinking. It's all part of the service this blog provides.

For more on Mardi Gras "Indians," see Mardi Gras Indian Stereotypes and Phony Indians "Honor" Real Indians. For more on the subject in general, see Tricking or Treating Indians and Indian Wannabes.

Below:  Phony Indians "whoop" it up.

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