February 09, 2013

The Cherokees gift shop

Here's a gift shop I recently learned about. It's noteworthy because it's supposedly run by Cherokees on the Eastern Cherokee reservation.

The CherokeesIndian & Cowboy

At the Cherokees, we provide our customers with quality items made by the Cherokee Indians. We are located on the Qualla Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina. The reservation is situated at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains.

Comment:  The headdresses may be quality replicas, but the children's toys look like the typical schlocky junk made in Asia for tourists. I wouldn't brag about this trash if I were the owners.

Everything in view qualifies as stupidly stereotypical. These Cherokees are foolishly contributing to the caricaturing of themselves and other Indians as primitive savages.

Being Cherokee doesn't give the owners any special insight into Plains headdresses, which they've appropriated from cultures a thousand miles distant. Presumably they're selling these headdresses to non-Indians who then insult Indians by dressing up and play-acting.

The whole shop looks like an exercise in putting greed and profit above Native culture and tradition. If Cherokees are indeed responsible for this, they should be ashamed of themselves.

For more on the misuse of headdresses, see "Cowboys and Indians" Beauty Showdown and Columnist Defends Mummers Parade.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The Cherokees" is a factory, which employs Cherokee workers. Thus, the items are NDN made, and can be marketed as such. I do not beleive the Eastern Band has any stake, control, etc. I was led to believe it is private enterprise. Of course, this doesn't make it right.