March 31, 2010

Natives criticize Speidi names

Native American Backlash Over Speidi NamesRunning Bear and White Wolf aren't exactly being embraced by the community they hoped to join ... in fact, several Native American groups are lashing out at the reality stars over their "ignorant" name changes.

After the people formally known as Heidi and Spencer announced their new names, TMZ spoke with a rep from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, who told us, "Continued stereotyping such as this by people ignorant of our traditional ways is very disrespectful and only hurts our efforts to curtail these stereotypes."

The rep claims they're especially upset because "the names they have given themselves are legitimate names in our tribe." And they're not the only ones pissed at the MTV couple ...

The National Indian Education Association tells us, "they have taken an inaccurate stereotypical approach to enhance their public image which is offensive to our diverse American Indian cultures."
Some comments on this controversy from Natives on Facebook:White Wolf and Running Bear????? LMAO!!!!! Why not "Wind Whistles Thru My Ears"? I think that would be an appropriate name for these two idiots!!!!


How about running boor and white trash, instead?

Dumb and Dumber are more appropriate names...

I realize people want to make connections to the indigenous people of American, but this just is not the way to do it...glad that the tribe made a comment. More tribes need to speak up on behalf of our culture.

How embarrassing.... for them!

Such a disgrace...

New names: Looks For Self...Finds Gaping Pit of Soulless Racism. Will that work? I could translate it into Gaelic if it will make them feel more spirchul.
Another article makes a good point about the Rosebud Sioux's "legitimate names" claim:

Surprise!!!  Native Americans Are Offended By Heidi And Spencer’s New Native American Names.

By Noah GarfinkelNOOOOOOOOOO! You messed UP!!!! Now we’re all just thinking about how it’s a at least a little funny that those are legitimate names. And you also gave Heidi and Spencer credit for being accurate. You have to listen to me when I talk to you about public relations.Comment:  Yes, you don't want to give Heidi and Spencer credit for choosing "legitimate" names even if they are legitimate. Why not? Several reasons:

  • Cultural appropriation like this is never appropriate. It doesn't matter whether the names are legitimate or not.

  • Would the names be less offensive if they were more facetious: e.g., Rain Dancer, Big Beaver, or Drinks-a-Lot? No, obviously not.

  • Heidi and Spencer undoubtedly didn't choose their names by looking in a phone book and saying, "Oh, here are some real Indian names. Let's use them." They picked them because Indians are stereotypically associated with wolves, bears, eagles, and hawks. I.e., the noble beasts of the forest.

  • That some Indians really have such names is a coincidence. These Indians inherited their names from their ancestors, who received them in a dream or vision or by doing some great deed. They did not choose their names because they sounded cool, brave, or "spiritual."

    As I've said many times, if someone chose an Indian name such as Back Fat, Buffalo Hump, or He Who Yawns, I'd be impressed. It would mean they were emulating the vast majority of Indians who don't have a "noble" wolf/bear/eagle/hawk name. It would mean they were trying to connect with the reality of Indian culture, not their romantic version of it.

    Of course, it still would be a brazen example of cultural (mis)appropriation. But at least the names wouldn't be blatantly stereotypical. We could concentrate on why taking "Indian names" is wrong, not why the names themselves are wrong.

    For more on the subject, see Heidi and Spencer Adopt "Indian Names" and "Funny" Indian Names.

    1 comment:

    dmarks said...

    "Cultural appropriation like this is never appropriate. It doesn't matter whether the names are legitimate or not."

    Thinking of exceptions... there are some. They could have chosen fakey ancient Roman names like Biggus Dickus and Mucus.

    Cultural appropriation also, but nothing like fakey Native names which insult living people or their recent ancestors.