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Consumerism, Consumption, Control: American Indian Commodification in Popular Culture and Arts

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Title: Consumerism, Consumption, Control: American Indian Commodification in Popular Culture and Arts


1
Consumerism, Consumption, Control American
Indian Commodification in Popular Culture and
Arts Nancy Marie Mithlo, Ph.D., Assistant
Professor of Art History and American Indian
Studies, UW Madison
2
  • Consumerism Halloween costumes
  • Consumption Americana Indian Exhibit
  • (collectibles)
  • Control Mascots
  • Commodification Sum total of cycle
  • Laurie Ann Whitt Cultural Imperialism and the
    Marketing of Native America. In Contemporary
    Native American Cultural Issues, ed. Duane
    Champagne, AltaMiraPress, 1999.
  • 2) C. Richard King and Charles Fruehling
    Springwood Team Spirits The Native American
    Mascots Controversy, University of Nebraska
    Press, 2001.

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http//www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/17/illegal.immigrant
.costume/ Immigrant activists call out 'Illegal
Alien' costumes The Coalition for Humane
Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said it began
receiving e-mails from concerned legal immigrants
on Friday. In response, CHIRLA wrote a letter
asking several retailers, including Target,
Walgreens, and Amazon.com, to stop offering the
costume. As of Saturday afternoon, Target had
pulled the products, and some links to the
costumes on other sites were no longer
functional. Target said the "Illegal Alien"
costume was inadvertently uploaded to its Web
site due to a data entry error. "It is never our
intent to offend the consumers with the products
we offer," a company statement said.
6
I had to see it for myself to believe that Amazon
would support this blatantly racist COSTUME! Not
only does it perpetuate xenophobic attitudes and
judgments, it makes fun of such a sensitive issue
in our IGNORANT country. SHAME on Amazon and I
for one will be the first in line to boycott any
future purchases from them. Theres a bunch of
sick people out there with NO IMAGINATION, thats
for sure!!! I am so disappointed in your
business for selling such a racist,
anti-immigrant, inhumane costume. This country
has a serious problem with the level of
discrimination and outright hatred expressed
toward people who are in this country as economic
refugees and exploited laborers. This costume is
an example of the ignorance of so many. You
should be ashamed, and people should boycott all
corporations that promote this ridiculous
costume. http//www.inquisitr.com/43175/illegal-a
lien-halloween-costume- funny-or-mean/

7
Women's Sassy Indian Princess Wig 24.99 Prices,
promotions, styles and availability may vary by
store and online. Availability In Stock Be the
first to write a review. http//www.target.com/gp/
detail.html/184-7453704-3546448?ASINB002HIFNCSAF
IDFroogleLNMB002HIFNCSWomens_Sassy_Indian_Prin
cess_Wigci_src14110944ci_skuB002HIFNCSreftgt
_adv_XSG10001
8
Indian Girl Costume Be the first to write a
review. 16.99 Prices, promotions, styles and
availability may vary by store and online.
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Consumerism Halloween costumes
10
Consumption Americana Indian Exhibit
(collectibles)
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paulfesta.com/2009_05_01_archive.html
Control Mascots
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A Native Indian costume could fit anyone. You
could explore through the rich histories and
cultures of Native Indian tribes. You could be
the tribal chief, princess, warrior or any other
member of a Native Indian tribe. Take pride in
being a Native Indian. Exotic and unique, you
surely could enjoy this costume for any costume
event. Native American Indian costumes will
never go out of fashion and they can also reveal
your good taste. These costumes are cool and
attract the attention of the crowd easily. They
also let you and your family learn something
about the ancient culture.
13
Halloween Costume Categories Pumpkin
Costumes Witch Costumes Vampire Costumes Ghost
Costumes Devil Costumes Pirate Costumes Clown
Costumes Indian Costumes Angel Costumes Fairy
Costumes Mermaid Costumes Frankenstein Costumes
Other Scary Costumes http//www.costumecraze.com
/Holiday-Costumes-Halloween-Costumes.html
14
Many books about Halloween have illustrations of
kids dressed up as Indians, and due to society's
embrace of things-Indian and playing Indian, we
don't give it a second thought. 1) What else do
kids dress up as at Halloween? I dont mean
animals or superheroes, but people-costumes. They
can be policemen, firefighters, cowboys,
doctors…football players, princesses, belly
dancers…. All these are occupations or positions
one can, in fact, be at some point, with the
proper training. Now---what about an Indian? You
cant train to be an Indian. You cant become
one. It is something you are born into. 2) Can
you imagine yourself painting the childs face so
he/she could be a black person? A minstrel
performer, or perhaps a slave, or even Martin
Luther King? Im guessing a parent wouldnt do
that. That parent would know it was wrong. 3)
What sort of Indian are we encouraging children
to be when we endorse an Indian costume, and what
does it teach them? Are they savage Indians, the
ones who, according to history books, were
murderous, bloodthirsty killers? Or are they the
tragic ones, heroic, last-stand, looking into the
sunset, riding away despondent over loss? Savage
or heroicboth place Native peoples in the past,
not the present, reinforcing the idea that we are
an extinct people.
Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's
Literature _at_ UW Nov. 5th 330 PM
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Americana Indian curated by Dr. Brian Baker,
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, Sacramento
State University. This slide shows the first
objects he collected.
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Dr. Brian Baker, Sociologist
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The Americana Indian Head
1850s-1900s
1930s-1950s
1980s-1990s
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This exhibit features a variety of Americana
artifacts (toys, pennants, ads, products, etc.)
that simultaneously reflect and project Indians
as historical and contemporary products of the
American cultural and political imagination. For
example, the Supima Cotton ad makes use of an
Indian head penny, a medium of exchange that
circulated for five decades (1859-1909), to
invoke a sense of Americana.   The image on
the penny does not feature the likeness of any
Indian individual, nor does it commemorate a
specific Indian for accomplishments or
contributions to America, as is the case for
other currency bearing the portrait of an
individual. Note that the head is adorned with
what Americans call a warbonnet. Its presence is
what transforms the profile from just a head on a
penny, into the Indian head penny. Already an
old and popular image when the Indian head penny
was freshly minted in 1859, this caricature and
symbol of Indians, in all its variations,
continues to thrive in the American imagination.
The objects and images gathered together for this
exhibit highlight the powerful cultural and
political characteristics of the Americana Indian
that pervade and buttress the collective identity
of the Nation.
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How, How, How Spun-Lo Advertisement
Distorting Traditions     A necessary and
powerful dimension of the Americana Indian has
been the creation of ideas and images meant to
define so-called Indian traditions and customs.
In the American imagination, the Americana
Indian embodies an array of beliefs, behaviors,
and traditions that are constructed and enacted
as authentic, and even worthy of respect by
Americans.   In this ad, designed to sell womens
underwear in the 1950s, the creator invokes ideas
central to the Americana Indian. The model wears
a feathered headband and braids, material and
behavioral artifacts that effectively transform
her into the feminine version of the Americana
Indian, the Indian princess. She stands with her
hand raised in what Americans view as the
appropriate hand posture for the enunciation of
How in Indian-speak. The ad further reinforces
this stereotypification of Indians with the
phrases Heap big savings and watchem grow.
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Indian Squaws and Princesses   Generally
referenced as either squaws or princesses,
Indian women are imagined as dregs or highly
sexualized objects.   The pictures of Indian
women adorned with warbonnets are highly
sexualized. Each deploys one aspect of the noble
savage dualism.  The 1950s black and white
photographs exemplify cheesecake photography, and
is particularly disturbing because it sexualizes
the squaw's inherent tendency to violence and
scalping (savagery).  The Barbie Indian suggests
wholesomeness and purity as American values
(nobility).
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Wall Street Journal 10/13/09 D10 ..we spent
hours categorizing every mascot of the four major
sports, as well as college football, and came up
with eight easily definable groups. We then asked
what type of mascot is the most successful.
"Inanimate objects," a 17-team group that
includes the Akron Zips (named after popular
rubber shoes in the 1920s) and the Ohio State
Buckeyes (a type of nut), has a collective .550
winning percentage over the past 10 years. The
"Indians" group, which includes the Central
Michigan Chippewas, Atlanta Braves and Kansas
City Chiefs, are at .516. David Biderman
30
Why would mainstream society want to sow
confusion about Indians or spread misinformation
about them? How does mainstream society benefit
from ignoring or stereotyping minorities,
especially Indians? 1) It's really advantageous
for...power people not to know anything about the
culture. If they know they're going to have to
do something about the Indian situation. James
Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre), quoted in "Who
Gets to Tell Their Stories?," New York Times Book
Review, 5/3/92 If people learned about Indians,
they would have to say, yes, and agree and press
the Supreme Court and US Congress to give the
Black Hills back to the Lakota people...to say,
yes, the Native American people do own
Arizona. Simon Ortiz (Acoma), quoted in "Who
Gets to Tell Their Stories?," New York Times Book
Review, 5/3/92 Clark said that by fabricating
these symbols and images, it empowers white
supremacy because these images and symbols create
boundaries between American Indians from
non-American Indian. It produces antagonistic
communities and separates groups further. It
leaves generations with a reminder of what's
"bad" about American Indians, such as stereotypes
of them being "savage," deviates from their true
history and erases their misfortunes. (A.T.
Clark) Blue Corn Comics http//www.bluecorncomic
s.com/stharm.htm
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C. Richard King A) Inversion, B) Eradication, C)
Re-appropriation The Social Production of
Whiteness Native American mascots stage
privileged versions of whiteness. They illuminate
the manner in which Euro-Americans understand
themselves, importantly creating themselves
thorough renditions of otherness and cultural
difference. (Alterity) For Euro-American fans,
alumni, students, performances mimicking (and
mocking) Native Americans bind individuals
together, creating shared sentiments and
solidarity, while marking the (racialized) limits
of the moral community and the terms on which
others may enter into it. These images constrain
the ability of the non-Indian community to relate
to Indians as contemporary, significant, and real
human actors. Indian mascots stage the
historical relations between Native Americans and
Euro-Americans as unmarked by violence.
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Cultural Imperialism Laurie Ann Whitt - The
relationship between a dominant and subordinate
culture in which the dominant culture extends
their political power, secure their social
control and furthers the economic profit by
appropriating an assimilating indigenous
knowledge and belief systems (Intellectual
property) Simon Ortiz Symbols are taken and
are popularized, diverting attention from real
issues about land and resources. Politics of
ownership 1) Indigenous cultures are deemed
part of the public domain legal terra
nullius, 2) Privatization and transformation of
valued indigenous resources into commodity
form Central historical dynamic mediating
Euroamerican and indigenous relations conversion
process resulting in the privatization of
property. Examples General Allotment Act of 1887
privatize communally owned lands, Human remains
as cultural property ARPA Archaeological
Resources and Protection Act of 1979.
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The research shows how little most Americans know
about the diversity of contemporary Indian
experience and points to the need for depictions
of Indians outside of casinos and impoverished
reservations. While the Indians interviewed for
the research described their sadness about the
past and widespread prejudice and discrimination
against Indians today, they also talked about
their hopes and feelings of success their pride
in the great strides Indians have made
economically and theirs sense that their lives
are improving. The research also points to a
number of revelations that call for additional
research. For instance, why non-Indians
acknowledge that Indians have been badly
mistreated in the past, on the one hand, and yet
at the same time resent what they see as
preferential treatment by the government, on the
other. The report also notes generally more
favorable attitudes toward Indians among
Americans living far from concentrations of
Indian populations and a somewhat higher
prevalence of more negative views among those
living closer to Indian reservations. Walking a
Mile Report http//publicagenda.org/reports/walki
ng-mile-first-step-toward-mutual-understanding
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