Native Americans And Popular Culture For Better Or Worse :…
Native Americans And Popular Culture For Better Or Worse :
Native Americans and popular culture have blended for decades. As Native people how we interpret this is now left up to us. One mans cultural honoring is another’s theft. What film media often takes is the best and worst of culture(s), spinning it into a hard to eradicate stereotype vortex. This is where the thin line between love and hate exists. With no new ( or very few) honest portrayals of Native people in media, the new self-stereotype awaits unless we determine who we are by ourselves for ourselves devoid of stale Native archetypes that “keep us in our place”. Native people starved for media attention rarely think twice anymore when stereotypes occur because deep seated institutional racism has bamboozled us into thinking its “honor”. Redface ( non-native performing as native) and stereotype cliche’ performance is now mainstream entertainment and sadly accepted via films like Disney’s The Lone Ranger and the NFL’s Redkskin’s mascot issue. As an artist and social observer I’ve always looked at (the) marginalized and the mainstream. Because I come from and work in marginalized communities, this is how I often “see” things. Subcultures are often tribally codified to teach/maintain structure and order for effective self preservation.
In my own art I discuss subtle and sometimes overt parallels between “tribes” out there and here. I use pop cultural icon images that convey messages about life on the edge and life’s challenges. If Pop culture has borrowed our (Native) image, I’ve done the same in respectful homage not to create new stereotypes but to address raw living structure(s) from within. In my work, utilizing pop imagery isn’t an effort to trend or pander to mainstream sensibilities. It’s about communication in codes we all understand while staking our claim as being present, complex and tribal. So remember : “never take sides against the family again”. I am also a curator. Don’t bite my content here unless you understand what it means to be us and are interested in working with us. It’s our life, not a trending now topic of conversation. .