Jun 27, 2016 - War Eagle Camp, By Mytuva Russell
I’ve recently found a photo posted to Twitter by someone I follow. This person had posted the picture claiming cultural appropriation against natives. I’m the kind of person who will comment on something and explain why it’s wrong, when it comes to cultural appropriation towards natives. However, this is a much bigger issue than just posting a picture of a nonnative in a headdress.
The source of the photo was from a Christian camp in Arkansas called “Camp War Eagle”. I decided to look further into it. I found their Instagram, which has several photos of white children dressed in “native regalia”. I went to their Instagram and Facebook page in attempts to point out what they’re doing is wrong. Camp War Eagle has deleted those comments and blocked me on their social media websites.
Here’s a little bit about Camp War Eagle based on their about us section from their website:
“Camp War Eagle is a Christian, sports, adventure and recreation summer camp for boys and girls ages 7 to 17 from Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison counties in northwest Arkansas. Located on the shores of beautiful Beaver Lake, Camp War Eagle is the place for children from Northwest Arkansas to have the time of their lives and gain a greater appreciation for God, themselves and others. The children returning home will then positively affect their families and the communities of Northwest Arkansas.”
With that being said, why would a Christian camp decide to promote themselves in such a manner? It’s incredibly ironic considering our ancestors history with Christian people. Do not take this the wrong way, not all Christians are like this, I’ve met many wonderful Christians. But this is not acceptable.
That enough was disturbing to me, but I wasn’t done looking into it. This entire camp is based around Native American culture, but not in a respectful manner, it appears to be one giant appropriation of Native American culture.
As you can see, they have “Red days” and “tribal competitions”. What is this teaching the children? The camp also has teams that are broken up. There’s the “Osage team” and the “Caddo team”.
Both teams are named after different Native American nations. Like I said, they’re basing the whole camp around Native American culture.
Now looking at these photos, should we deem this as acceptable behavior? How can you look at these photos and support such things? This is much more than just cultural appropriation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they continue anyways. We need to get the word out. We are not mascots, our culture is sacred and not to be mocked. We need to use social media to our advantage. They need our voices to be heard, and so does everyone else.
Thank you for reading.
Hello, my name is Mytuva Russell. I’m 21 years old and Jicarilla Apache, Ojibwe, and Abenaki. From the moment I was born, I have been attending powwows and Native American art shows. I’m a jingle dancer and women’s fancy shawl dancer. My parents are award winning Native American artists. They raised me in a traditional household with traditional values off of the reservation. I’m a mother and a wife. I’m also becoming an activist for my people.