October 21, 2012

Nun wears headdress at canonization

Getting even more publicity than Kateri Tekakwitha's canonization was this photograph taken at the scene:

"Nuns held images of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to achieve sainthood, as they waited for the start of a canonization ceremony celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, in St. Peter's Square on Sunday." (Andrew Medichini/Associated Press)

Most of the Natives I know were incredulous about this. Some comments from the F.A.I.R. MEDIA (For Accurate Indigenous Representation) page on Facebook:First they make an idol of our ancestor then this multi coloured eagle feather bonnet...sheesh.

While i'm sure she thought she was paying tribute it just shows what kind of stereotypes still exist in our world.

Talk about cultural insensitivity...and ignorance....

WTH! Does the Church really think dressing up a nun like she's entering a Brazilian parade is the correct protocol for celebrating a Mohawk woman??? Geeeezh!

The Catholic Church has demonstrated again and again that their interest in Indigenous cultures extends only to finding ways to convert--with a view to accessing Indigenous lands and resources.

The Catholic Church again...so offensive....Soon their day will come..down with religion and separatism...up with humanity and respect for the down-pressed people of the world....

It also shows their arrogance. How untouchable they are that they can do whatever they feel under "God's OK."

WOW this hurts.

Sick bastards...this is what I have been saying about the Church. See how sensitive they are to other cultures. Waiting for the black face paint next. I wonder if she realized that she forgot the war paint? What an ass.

There are so many things wrong here. Why. Just why.

This has just given millions of Catholics licence to engage in garish cultural appropriation. This will make the struggle against "Dressing up as Indians" at Halloween--all the more harder. This is a huge set back.

Wow. Just wow. Lots of work to be done in educating an unbelievably ignorant world.
Comment:  Activists often call for boycotts in situations like this. Can we boycott the Pope?

Ironically, the nun is holding an illustration of Kateri. This illustration may not be accurate, but clearly it looks nothing like the nun in her get-up. The nun would have to be an idiot to be oblivious to the stereotyping she's doing.

In related news, Indians say they'll dress up as a priest and pretend to molest altar boys the next time a Catholic official visits them. Because the nun's blatant Native stereotyping deserves a response in kind.

Someone should write a letter to the Associated Press and ask them to pull this photo. The AP is a primary source of photos for thousands of newspapers and websites. This photo will be the "face" of the canonization while it's in the news, and whenever it's retrieved from the archives.

For more on Kateri Tekakwitha, see Playing Indian to Celebrate Kateri and Indians Attend Vatican Canonization Ceremony.


dmarks said...

"Someone should write a letter to the Associated Press and ask them to pull this photo."

I should write one to have them keep the photo up. Ridiculous things like this need to be exposed, not covered up.

The person who made this comment should save their energy for those responsible, not those who report it.

Rob said...

Exposing a stereotype only works if you make its problems obvious to the uninitiated. Simply repeating the stereotype, which will happen if AP reuses the photo, isn't enough.

Unless the photo is accompanied by commentary like mine, most people won't realize it's ridiculous. They'll take it at face value as a genuine "honoring" of Kateri Tekakwitha.

Since AP didn't post a critical comment with the photo initially, I doubt it'll do so down the road. I'd rather see the photo pulled than reused uncritically.