Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Featured

Gatekeeping and politics in the Digital realm of Native Identity, By Danielle Miller

Gatekeeping and politics in the Digital realm of Native Identity, By Danielle Miller

What relationship does social media and its users have on Native Identity? Social media has become a new form of the moccasin telegraph in Indian Country, a way for Natives to voice their concerns on issues where they are denied the ability to do so by mainstream media. By using social media platforms marginalized groups are able to get their message across to large audiences while seemingly cutting out the middle man. But as anything that is about social influence that leaves room to question motives and ethics of prominent gatekeepers. Users who originally had no accessibility gain opportunities to vocalize on issues become vulnerable to interpersonal political conflicts and power dynamics when they land on the radar of gatekeepers. After certain social perks and interactions many individuals may feel obligated to reciprocate for gate keepers by joining social alliances and cosigning with individualized motives.  These individuals may be unaware of the fact that they are being used for the perspectives and knowledge they contribute, or as a prop...

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Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Featured

“Deadskins”- Genocide as Entertainment, By Danielle Miller

“Deadskins”- Genocide as Entertainment, By Danielle Miller

Dominant white culture will never seem to get over its unhealthy obsession with depicting Native Americans as dead and extinct. Cultural objects are whitewashed by acts of appropriation, celebrities and even the general public continues to wear imagery of dead Natives. This perpetual pattern to insult to Native American culture has become so intrinsic that I’m beginning to believe it is an unspoken element of capitalist identity and policy. What does this say about American culture that it is so inundated with imagery which symbolically subjugates populations who have been oppressed and survived through attempted genocide? It speaks to the success colonization has had on indoctrinating our “color blind” “post racial” society into ongoing imperialism in such a matter that celebration of genocide is normalized. It speaks to the continued genocide that many are complicit in; from perpetuation of stereotypes through erasure, the pillaging of cultural identity through cultural appropriation to blatant exploitation of native resources. Ultimately these seemingly shallow “issues” of stereotypes have causation with statistics and realities...

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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Featured

Kimye Appropriation Representative of U.S. Pop Culture’s Obsession with Native American Extinction, By Danielle Miller

Kimye Appropriation Representative of U.S. Pop Culture’s Obsession with Native American Extinction, By Danielle Miller

“The only good Indian is a dead one”… Although Native Americans are alive and thriving celebrities and fashion companies would rather depict Natives as extinct while continuing to commit appropriation of various tribal cultural items and symbols. “Kill the Indian save the man” along with the previous quotation were both sentiments upheld by Richard Pratt, the man who opened Carlisle boarding school in 1879 and implemented assimilation of Native Americans. I questioned how aware of this history Kanye was with the Yeezus shirt picture which included the caption “God Wants you” under a Native corpse. I fail to see how anyone can interpret this depiction or any other works by Wes Lang of as acts of “good intentions”. Pratt was good intentioned in his relations with Natives so that proves just how lethal “good intentioned” romanticism can be. While many claim our nation has come far from this horrible period in history the obsession to erase Native people continues. The consumption of Native cultures with no remorse or intentions...

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Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Featured

Native Appropriation Soup: Pac Sun, Harry Styles and Ralph Lauren Latest Offenders, By Danielle Miller

Native Appropriation Soup: Pac Sun, Harry Styles and Ralph Lauren Latest Offenders, By Danielle Miller

Our cultures have been the scapegoat for colonizers to feel exotic and rebellious since days of the Boston Tea party. When we challenge appropriation we are challenging the privileged colonizer identity which has been upheld since the origins of America. One of the modern depictions of erasure is the Native skull aesthetic. I already went into ways these pictures are problematic in past articles about Kanye West. To sum it up, an image which celebrates genocide is never acceptable. The use of cultural symbols for profit with no involvement with the communities is an act of exploitation. These celebrities and corporations won’t touch any Native issues with a fifty foot pole but they will put on a Native headdress in a heartbeat. These acts of appropriation don’t simply boil down to unoriginality or aesthetic choices. That becomes evident when you see certain historical policies or interactions of the United States and Native communities reflected within clothing designs. One flagrant example of this was when Gap came out with “Manifest...

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Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Featured

Earth to Johnny Depp, By Danielle Miller

Earth to Johnny Depp, By Danielle Miller

Native Americans have been stereotyped since the 1840s; during Buffalo Bull’s Wild West Show, through dime novels, Hollywood films and westerns. Natives participated in shows as an act of survival. Shows provided financial opportunity and an environment in which “being Indian” was acceptable. While Natives were creative in their acts of resistance in the past, this doesn’t mean we have to conform to the mold of the colonizer’s imagination today. The mainstream tries to dictate what our culture is and what we should feel “honored” by. Our identities aren’t up for grabs. You cannot conquer and profit off our dignity without resistance. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Americans believed they could “save the man and kill the Indian” by erasing traditional culture. Americans still continue to replace positive and contemporary examples of Natives with their insulting stereotypes. With our historical burden to reflect upon, there’s no reason why Americans shouldn’t learn from their ancestor’s mistakes. We all have the ability to evolve from historical amnesia. So many are...

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