Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There is just so much

I frequently feel that my brain will explode with the extremely large amount of items that swirl around therein.

The biggest things on my mind lately (not surprisingly, or infrequently the case) is Native American history. In particular, the poem by e.e. cummings:

Buffalo Bill's


        who used to

        ride a watersmooth-silver


and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat


he was a handsome man

                      and what i want to know is

how do you like your blueeyed boy

Mister Death
I love this poem. I have been thinking a lot about the appropriation of Native American culture and traditional practice in mainstream culture. 
I am going to ride this wave and see where it takes me. In the meantime, here are some images to tide you over til I decide I can write about this.
Images are the most important thing. 



Please, no...

Seriously? NOOOO!

Now I am depressed.

THIS: not cool.

I get it: you don't realize that you are racist. 


 And just a little education so that you don't close this tab feeling completely racist, and so that you can know
 some things for future use:
1. Women do not wear war bonnets. 
2. War bonnets are sacred.
3. Many feathers have traditional uses (not to mention the impact the trend is having on other industries...)
4. Racism is still alive and well. 
5. The term "buckskin" and calling a US Dollar a "buck" are racist. Historical background: 
When colonists were settling, particularly around Virginia, they invested in the fur trade, particularly the fur of the deer,
a native animal to the North American continent. For the hide of one male deer (a buck), a person was paid one US dollar. 
Thus, the dollar took on the nickname, "buck". As wars with native peoples began, the derogatory idea was to 
refer to dead Indian men as "bucks", as they were piled in heaps like the dead deer whose hides would be traded.
So... the point in telling you this? I'm not trying to make you feel terrible for telling me how many bucks you just 
scored while big pimpin, I just want us all to be a bit more aware of the etymology of the stuff we say.
My dear sweet sister-cousin sent me a really lovely book about the history of Indian trade blankets. 
I was so excited to get some good history on them!
Here is a fun little article talking about how they have been appropriated by hipster culture. With slideshow!!

 Hippies were always trying to be Indians. As we can see, this is not a new trend.
 (PLEASE click this. This is the best scene.) 
This is from artist Arthur Amiote. He is great. Maybe I will write more about him someday.



Emily said...

Such a great blog post - you have left me thinking.

Wilberforce said...

Since buck was originally not racist,but merely a product of the fur trade, I hereby reclaim the fur trade reference while abandoning any reference to native americans when I use it. I don't like the idea of surrendering words to the racist unusable bin when they could be recovered.

Marge Bjork said...

As a kid who grew up in the midwest that you've previously mentioned and according to said mentioning you will now understand why books and PBS were my best friends. ( I D O N ' T I D E N T I F Y W I T H T H E S E P E O P L E ! ! ! ) (Not to say I haven't developed some of the better parts of my character because of them) This being the case, I have realized that even though I am supposed to be a WASP, I find I have identified (misidentified?) with and appropriated just about every culture I've run across as the one I was surrounded by didn't fit. This is a problem when I'm contemplating the culture of male facial hair.

It wasn't until I was 20 and had a singular experience that I realized other people saw me as white and as a "them" in the "us and them" scenario. Since then I have found new ways to be self conscious. Which isn't what you're trying to do.

Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that it was in college that I first came across "scenes" "us"es and "them"s and it was a horrible realization, one of many. It is also when I first realized that racism was alive and well, as you say (unrelated to my whitening experience). A part of my naivety had cracked and while I can't get that back, I generally try to wash this area with innocence. My innocence wash needs these reminders to fully understand what I'm doing and whether it's appropriate. This train of thought keeps on going...

Bakes. said...

Buck: Also from the phrase "Knuck if you Buck." Buck meaning angry/excited. (Talk to lil wayne for a more explicit definition).

Buck is also a dear.

Or the nickname of Buckminster Fuller.

Bakes. said...

ps that picture of his crotch is the real crime here.

also, my word verification is "rumptest." coincidence? i think not.