Harsha Patel. Embarrassed East Indian.
What do these two have to do with each other?
They are the same person.
She was born Harsha Patel to a wealthy doctor and his wife in Ontario, but an estrangement from her family, a move across the country after graduating from William Lyon Mackenzie CI she gave herself a new name, and background (claims she is Ojibway), all fueled by ambition. The movie industry is not easy to break into, there are more doors closed than opened, but Harsha saw what she felt was a loophole. She decided to do what many other people have done to aboriginals in Canada and North America, and that was to exploit them for her own chance at fame. Rather than using her own Indian heritage and drawing on Hinduism for support, she instead rewrote her background to Native America, believing that she could garner more roles.
The casting session for New Moon was long and arduous. Line ups were huge. Casting agents were turning people away from the door. A big poster at the door stating "MUST BE NATIVE/FIRST NATIONS."
How did she get through the cracks?
How did a strict casting statement get ignored?
We, as well as others who've spoken out, don't wish anyone (even those who seem to romanticize oppression, falsify adoptee-status or co-opt marginalized peoples' identities) ill-will, and are only in favor of an admission and an apology from the actress herself. If this individual cares about Native people or "breaking casting stereotypes" at all, she will CEASE derailing all discussions of this with flippant 'statements', detracting from the issue with her resume of feel-good 'activist work', et cetera, and just tell the truth.
Many Native people will not agree with us on issues of cultural (mis)appropriation, or are willfully ignorant to the exploitation of Native "identity", and that is fine. However, you'd do a disservice to your ancestors who survived displacement and genocide to not care. When you defend those who practice dishonesty, it is akin to the dismissive attitudes of white people who've told us to "lighten up" about Hollywood's preference for white actors in Native roles. If your culture is merely a tool to use for your own advancement or personal gains, a fashion statement, et cetera...that is your prerogative. But some of us care about maintaining strong familial ties, respecting our elders, acknowledging our clans, knowing our history and striving to keep our languages alive. You can wear your "pride" on any number of t-shirts or use your tribal affiliation to get ahead/distinguish yourself amongst the crowd, but the way in which you carry yourself and treat others is the ultimate decider of what makes you a good person and a culturally-competent member of your nation or person of your background. We would be appreciative of Tinsel Korey's work in Native communities, but we do not believe she can "give back" any more than she has taken...unless she starts practicing honesty.
Below: An image from the 'Harsha Patel" Tumblr page.