August 01, 2011

British couple lives like "Indians"

Coventry couple are American Indians

By Neil MillardTHIS couple decided their old life wasn't Apache on the ways of the American Indian—after a chance meeting at Morrisons.

John and Pauline Jerzyszek have transformed themselves—becoming Running Bear and Small Warrior—after running into a fellow believer in the supermarket seven years ago.

They liked what they heard so much the couple are now dedicated to living as American Indians.

By day Pauline, 58, works with people with special learning needs.

But after returning home to truck driver husband John they wear the full American Indian regalia including WAR BONNETS and feathered accessories.

And:The couple's semi in Coventry, West Mids, is covered with traditional carvings, animal skins and dream catchers.

The pair attend Pow Wows—meetings with other Indians—and have spent time living with Lakota Indians in the US.
Some comments on this article:Jeffrey

As a man who is about half-Cherokee (admittedly, I don't look it...popped out of the womb looking more like my mother's side of the family--European), I don't know if this is funny, pathetic, or insulting.


Jeffrey--I would choose "pathetic." What a sad empty life they must lead. All I can say in their defence is that they are not hurting anybody.
Comment:  Other commenters agreed that "Running Bear and Small Warrior" weren't hurting anybody. They chastised the commenters who complained.

Actually, these wannabes are hurting people--the Indians they're supposedly honoring--by stereotyping them. To be specific, they're perpetuating the belief that Indians are primitive people of the past. That they all belong to one generic Plains-style culture. That this culture is nothing but physical objects: e.g., flutes, animal skins, and dreamcatchers.

And more: That all it takes to become an Indian is dressing up and adopting a funny name. That "war bonnets and feathered accessories" are for anyone, not for Indians who have earned the privilege of wearing them. In short, that they are Indians (per the article's title) because they say they are.

Supposedly they've helped "drunk lads or little old ladies" because of their "Native" beliefs. That's nice. Have they contributed time or money to a Native charity or cause? Have they written or lectured about American Indians today--you know, the 565 tribes who don't dress up in feathers and buckskins?

Indeed, have they done anything other than promote a stereotypical image of Indians? One that's harmed Indians in countless ways? If so, it isn't in this article.

Imagine if they dressed up in grass skirts with bones in their hair and noses and said they were living like Africans. Would anyone consider that harmless? Or a good thing? How is this different from that? Why is stereotyping Indians the last acceptable form of racism?

For more on Indian wannabes, see Irish "Indian Chief Head Dress" and Playing Indian in Not Me!

Below:  A new hobby for the Jerzyszeks if they get tired of being Indians.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Shadow Wolf said...

If they're "hurting" anyone, they are hurting themselves and other fellow Whites (neighbors, friends, co-workers et al.). In other words, I'm assuming lack of White pride as in being a member of a "SUPREME" or "superior" race. So they go on to be something which they are not.

That in itself is sad. (Perhaps not pathetic.)

dmarks said...

"The pair ... [has] ... spent time living with Lakota Indians in the US."

Based on this, you'd think they'd know better.

I guess education and real experience only goes so far. As Ron White said, "you can't fix stupid."

Anonymous said...

It's more just hilarious than anything.

"As Abraham Lincoln once said, Journalism is the first rough draft of history. Or possibly it was Thomas Edison who said that. I'm pretty sure somebody said it, because you often hear journalists quote it in an effort to explain how come they get everything wrong."

—Dave Barry

"Cowboy BeBop at his computer"

—Caption of a screenshot featuring a girl named Edward with a monitor and keyboard, but no actual computer. Not really an example, since "at" is still correct.