The War on Warbonnets.

While scrolling through my Instagram out of boredom, I noticed a local boutique wanting to find a blogger to promote their clothing. Instantly, I thought about reaching out, and just as quickly as I reached excitement, I was reminded that it might feel a tad bit like I was selling my soul. Why? Because the type of clothing they sell. This summer I got the idea that I would walk around Dillard’s, and take photos of any clothing that had Native American designs or inspiration. I got tired after I hit about thirty; that’s a problem. You’re using Thunderbird’s, “Aztec prints” which are really symbols used on our regalia, and after a while you realize you can’t fight everything. But there is one line in fashion that stores, hipsters, and others are continuously crossing…Warbonnets.

warbonnet“Whats that?” It’s that “chief headdress” on your shirt, in your picture, and what cheap replica you’re wearing on your head during a festival. Lets back up a bit, and discuss the exact cause and history on this very controversial, yet continuously ignored topic.

You see, a genocide happened right here in America. You flip open your history textbooks and they present numerous pages on what Hitler did, and to us that’s the only one we really remember. They skim over what they did to the people who were here because they know they’re guilty. I have little to no memory of ever discussing Native Americans in history class. This government was built upon genocide, I mean seriously, they put their effin’ faces on the sacred Black Hills that they stole, and wanted to sell back to us. Um, yea. Mount Rushmore? No. We really did try to get rid of anything in this country that wasn’t white. Don’t get offended if you’re white, you can’t help it, it’s just the facts.You can try to deny that all you want to, but the blood this country tried to build itself on has forever stained the ways of people now; and it’s not all great. Why is Native Culture so small? Because in the simplest terms, it was wiped the heck out.

woundedkneeWhy yes, they are standing over dead Natives.

So after this ignored American Holocaust against Indigenous people, a majority of American people who refuse to learn the culture are all about wearing it? Natives have been dehumanized so much. You take what we wore as spiritual clothing, and turned it into a successful yet cheap design for your boutique? You took a very sacred headdress, one many were denied to wear, and made it a costume? It’s not cool, its not nice, and it shows how much you know; nothing. I hear the people say, “I don’t mean it that way, I just thought it looked cool.” I think warbonnets are beautiful too, but I’m still not allowed to wear one. Our Native ancestors were punished for wearing them…but you get to? Nah. See, those headdresses were earned, just like certain military metals are earned; I don’t just get to wear one because they look cool.

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What can you do to help? First things first; stop supporting it. Yes, some of those shirts, and jewelry pieces are super “cute”, but don’t give in to culture appropriation. Second; do your research. Watch a documentary, get online, watch a Pow Wow video and see this culture for yourself. Maybe then when you see that these “Indians” are real, and not a fashion statement, you will gain an understanding. Third; make it known. Put it on Instagram, comment why it’s not cool, share your knowledge. You don’t have to be rude, but you do have to be brave. Lastly, if you love turquoise, moccasins, or beaded jewelry then find a Native Artist and support them. They are the real deal honey, and your every dollar counts.

Bottom line; this culture is not a trend. It’s very real, and I’m tired of fake turquoise, and crazy fake Warbonnets that have nothing to do with war, but only bad fashion. Rise up, and speak out.

Check out the New and first contest in a loooong time under the contest tab!

-haley.

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hecheto welo! (It is Good.)

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!! Oh, yes, how could you not expect that from me? 😉

I’m so glad that some places in America have come to their senses to change “Columbus Day” to Indigenous People’s Day, yet here I sit in my hometown with everyone educating their youngsters on Columbus. Oh, lord help me.

You see, when spreading this news I’m encountering a lot of people who say, “Why are we just now changing it after all these years? Why not leave it be?” I translate that to, “I have this massive tumor growing on my back, but why take it out after all this time? Why not just leave it be?” Does that make sense? No. When did doing the right thing become exhausting, or not worth doing after quote “all this time?” Why change this to Indigenous People’s Day? “To reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Dakota, Ojibwa and other indigenous nations add to our city.”

You see, people can argue all they want, but Columbus didn’t discover anything other than Native Americans who had been living on this beautiful land for a while. And it wasn’t just “Pocahontas” and the one tribe wearing warbonnets running around. It was countless Natives, very different by the numbering cultures and tribes that occupied this land. It amazes me to this day how we can continue to bury our head in the sand when it comes to Native culture. Its “weird”, “Makes no sense”, its “intense”, and to some people its just a fashion statement or trend. That buckskin dress? It was hand-made by the woman wearing it, and she earned if after hours of butchering that meat. Its bead-work is a symbol of her strength, her relationships, or her beliefs. The paint, feathers, or warbonnet? They all have specific symbolism, strength, and a sacred meaning to each tribe. Native American extends past the surface of “dressing up and looking cool” into a way of life, the only way of life they knew. Your Halloween costume, “Aztec” print/thunderbird/”Indian headress” shirt is not cute. Bottom line; the Holocaust of Native Americans was and is a very real thing. Millions were murdered, slaughtered, taken away, and forced into civilization. It’s not a joke, and despite how much your history book tries to cover up, it happened.

“By awakening the Native American teachings, you come to the realization that the earth is not something simply that you build upon and walk upon and drive upon, and take for granted. It is a living entity. It has consciousness.”

This was their land, their life, and many of their ancestors were buried here. Then, their children were buried in mass graves after they were slaughtered. You’d think America would provide one holiday for this amazing culture to gain more awareness and strive, but no. We gave it to Columbus who “discovered” this land?

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“Columbus did not embark on a simple voyage of exploration — it was always intended as a voyage of conquest and ultimately colonization. Columbus indicts himself in his journal as one of the most prolific slave traders in human history, buying and selling more than 5,000 indigenous people, and helping establish a brutal system of forced labor. Just decades after Columbus’ arrival, the indigenous population had been reduced by as much as 90 percent. This city should not honor a man who played a pivotal role in the worst genocide the world has ever known. Transforming this day into a celebration of indigenous culture and social justice is not merely educational in nature–it also allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization and discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.”

Call me crazy, but I just don’t feel like celebrating a Holiday one in which Banks use an excuse to close, to honor a slave trading and racist man. Now Italian-Americans are deeply offended, and feel like they have lost a piece of their heritage. Yea, I know what you mean. By seeing everyone dress up on Halloween as an “Indian”, or not respect a culture that was here longer than the people of today, I feel like I lost my culture too…one that your dude took…not to point fingers or anything. I’m sure that Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, among every woman slaughtered and raped felt deeply offended too.

columbus

You can turn your head and teach the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” crap, or you can teach, and know what needs to be taught. A beautiful culture that was taken from the land that you are living on. Natives were intense, but among those intense people (just like we have intense people today) they had some very wise and on-point views on life. Not to get biased about my own culture, but the way they treated this earth, and respected it, it always provided for them in return and they lived fulfilled, and enriched lives. They were in tune with their creator, they danced, they prayed, they believed in doing what made them happy while keeping close with their love and families. They were very focused on the proper upbringing, and belief in their children’s potential. “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” -Sitting Bull. All of this is merely scraping the surface into this amazing culture. Oh, how different life would be if things would’ve never changed, or at least people were taught these same values. Life was based on thanking the creator rather than taking. Prayer rather than hateful words, and dance instead of destruction. Tell me that is weird, intense, or unrealistic? Sounds a lot like what we should be doing as Americans. Praying, dancing, remembering our creator (for those who want to) and respecting this great Mother Earth who is constantly giving such beautiful and healing things to us.

“Regard Heaven as your father, Earth as your mother, and all that lives as your brother and sister.” Native Wisdom

Happy Indigenous People’s Day.

indigenous

Song of the Week is Red and White by Northern Cree to honor my beliefs and heritage! Hit play, and indulge yourself in a different culture. It will be something you aren’t used to, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. 🙂

-haley.

NATIVE PRIDE.