Slate recently published a pretty remarkable round-up of this year’s outrage. Why is it remarkable? Because every day there was something to be pissed about. From Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” to released photos of Kate Middleton’s bare bottom, Twitter was ablaze with fiery tweets in 2014 and Slate has chronicled it all.
Thanks to my friend and fellow journalist, Lindsey Anderson, I found out that I made the cut!
When I saw Pharell (who I have met IRL and am actually a big fan of) wearing a headdress on the cover of Elle UK magazine, you know I had to say something. And, apparently Slate took note and shared my tweet.
Despite all of the many times celebrities have been shamed for cultural appropriation faux pas, it seems the controversy surrounding Native American headdresses and cultural appropriation lives on. Nicki Minaj recently shared a photo of herself topless and wearing a headdress (that may or may not be a Native American one) to announce her upcoming tour. (Le sigh…)
For more of my “outrage” in 2015 and beyond, follow me on twitter @amystretten.
I was a sophomore in high school, about 15 years old, when a rather hostile group of cheerleaders and football players cornered me, yelling, as I sat on a bench in the quad between classes. “Don’t you have school pride?” a cheerleader shouted. “You should feel proud! We’re honoring your people!” one football player hollered.
I was the only Native American (as far as I knew) at Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California. Irvine is a planned city in Southern California and one of the safest cities in the United States, but I didn’t feel safe that day.
I had met one-on-one with the principal, my guidance counsellor, a few teachers and several students to share my negative feelings toward our school’s mascot – an anonymous Native American “warrior” with long, flowing, jet-black hair, a large nose and huge muscles. I guess I thought if I made it known that I felt appropriating Native American imagery was offensive, they’d stop. I was outnumbered, though, and my personal feelings didn’t matter. But that’s the thing: As Native people, especially as urban Natives (what we Indigenous people living in urban centers call ourselves), we are almost always outnumbered. So, we go unnoticed and unheard. Our opinions never really matter.
Students wore goofy, cartoonish costumes of our mascot (and his equally tasteless “warrior princess” girlfriend) at pep rallies and games. The pair would dance and do occasional acrobatic moves, as they made their grand entrance to the deafening sounds of the school’s marching band, playing the quintessential Hollywood fight song that, for me at least, conjures up images of a scene from an old Western movie: “savage” Indians on horseback approaching a village of settlers…Uh-oh, there must be trouble.