Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why does it bother you so much? What's the big deal?

Yes, I've been asked the questions several times.  "Why does it bother you so much?  What's the big deal?  Where's the harm?"
Well,  for the most part, images like this one on the right, perpetuate a harmful set of ideas:

1. Real Indians are Dead.  When we associate Native Americans with this fanciful image, we ignore the real Indigenous people around us.
While it would be easier if to identify Native Americans if they all wore feathers where ever they go. It's just not practical and can lead to unprovoked cat attacks.
Also, sadly,Walmart will not allow pet eagles, or wolves, in their stores.  However, they will allow this, go figure.
2. Native American spirituality is simplistic.  I have to laugh about some of the strange ideas about Indigenous Religion. Sadly, our own history books over simplify Native American beliefs in such a way that it is perceived  as a series of bizarre and naive practices.  Spirituality varies greatly from tribe to tribe.  However, most of my Indigenous friends have told me there spiritual practice is more of a way life than an organized religion.  Let us not forget, the American government made practicing Native American religions illegal as part of their attempt to "Americanize" Native Americans.
3. Savage Booty exists.  Sorry Charlie, sex is universal and we all, animals included, do it pretty much the same.  (Well, except spiders, spiders are all kinds of weird!) I know there are soccer moms out there daydreaming about a man in pigtails riding on a horse wanting to do freaky things to them.  Madeline Baker built a romance novel empire around the fantasy.  Sadly, I know some of guys are going to be mad at me for saying so, Savage Booty is a lie.  The weird, explicit ceremonies outlined in the ever popular Hanta Yo are also lies.  Yes, there are Twin-Spirit people.  However, their cultural significance should be interpreted as inclusion (something dominant culture should emulate) rather than sexual deviance.

Authors note: I'm sure there's more.  I'd love to keep going, really I would.  I've been drinking Tussin DM straight from the bottle for two days.  It seems to be affecting my writing ability.  Please don't tease me about my dysfunctional spell-checking and editing abilities. CBear out.

Update:  Since so many people are reading my cough-syrup induced ramblings, I wanted to insert a link to Rob Schmidt's 2003 article on  "Kinky Indian Sex".  Enjoy.


  1. I don't mind Indians in fantasy art, if that's not all we're in.

    Hanta Yo had God knows how much. I distinctly remember raping defeated enemies (which is common, cross-culturally, but Lakota men were afraid that they'd lose their edge if they had sex before or during a battle), oral and anal sex as ceremony (lolwut?), and something about keeping the foreskin back to even become the Lakota word for penis (which is really che - monosyllabic words don't lend themselves to more complex ideas, especially when Lakota words are already more multisyllabic than English words).

    Sex gets weird when you talk about different species. Birds don't even have penises. Nor do amphibians or most fish. Some invertebrats do, but then it gets REALLY weird. And single-cell organisms just trade nucleoli.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Reading reviews for Hanta Yo gives me the weird backstabbing feeling :(

    Dang, I'm going have to learn more about animal mating rituals. I thought spiders were cool with the male sex organs being by their mouths, then there's the drumming...:) I seem to remember snails being pretty freaky and nematodes, too.
    Maybe I should have replaced "animals" with "mammals", I'll blame the cough syrup. :)

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  5. I rather like the feathers, long hair, eagles and old style paint. Reminds me of our origins and heritage.

    Besides, we were beautiful back then doing it our way... just as we are beautiful now doing it theirs. That kind of beauty, can't avoid art.

  6. Coming from the opposite side of the spectrum, as a 'white guy', I too find myself baffled by the modern romantic idealization of Native Americans. My pet peaves:

    1. They are all grouped into one collective tribe - America is an enormous landscape, so it stands to reason that the different tribes would be, well, different. Each with its own sovereignty and customs and land. Most tribes didn't even get along.

    2. Native Americans were very in tune with nature. No, they did not have a special relationship with 'Gaia' . They were primitive, end of story.

    3. Shortened time frame of American colonization. Everyone seems to surmise that Europeans came to America, fought the Indians and settled the land. The so often ignore the several hundreds of years that take place from Columbus's landing to Custards last stand.

    4. Mexicans are not viewed as native Americans. The same people who get these silly tribal tattoos also hold a derogatory view of Mexicans.

    5. The deal with horses. Horses were driven to extinction in North America by the natives. Europeans reintroduced them. But again this goes back to number 3.

    6. Native Americans were Peaceful and its a shame what the evil white man did to them. No. Native americans were savage primitives and what happen to them is neither a tragedy or an unprecedented event. It is something that has played out continuously throughout history. The homo sapiens drove the Neanderthals to extinction, the romans killed the gauls, the celtic culture was virtually lost; so on and so on.

  7. How did I get here this shit is crazy !

  8. what does the Indian show band have to do with sex. People is going to think what they want whether it is about sex or anything else. Why can't people just enjoy the dam music and quit complaining. I was raised with Indians and now live by a reservation of Indians and most whites have their minds on sex more than the Indians so grow up. If your mind is in the gutter then that is your but does not mean everyone's is.