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It’s always the season to show R-E-S-P-E-C-T

by Ashley Holland (Cherokee), Eiteljorg assistant curator of contemporary art | Oct 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! A friendly reminder to always be respectful of other cultures when you are picking a costume…

Each year, around Halloween, I face the same horror. No, it isn’t goblins or ghosts that frighten me. It is the ever-present “Indian costume.” There are a few reasons I am strongly opposed to the idea of anyone “dressing up” as an “Indian,” including cultural misrepresentation and reducing a diverse people into a single stereotype. I use the quotations with “Indian” because these are false representations.  Even though costume wearers are not portraying a specific person or group, they still do harm. By reducing a group of people to a stereotype, one perpetuates the misunderstandings that surround Native peoples. Native cultures should not be portrayed as a caricature. They are strong and vibrant. Show respect by not dressing up as an “Indian” during Halloween and the rest of the year. And do not be afraid to tell others why those costumes are inappropriate.


CAPTION: "Indian costumes makes me sad."
Ashley Holland (Cherokee),assistant curator of contemporary art (in the red sweater)

 

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