ASK AUNTIE QUESTIONS

Culture is not a costume

Hi there! I’m Auntie Jane and I’ve thought a lot about your question.

Your friend thinks dressing up like a Native for Halloween is harmless. At the end of the night, she can take off that costume and get dressed in her normal clothes and for her, life goes on.

Cultural appropriation actually causes harm though. Like, real people are hurt because of it.

It hurts Native youth by directly impacting mental health and self-esteem.

It hurts Native women by perpetuating over-sexualized stereotypes.

It hurts Native men by labelling them as stoic “savages”.

And it hurts Native culture because there are way too many misconceptions that people have about Native lives – and costumes and mascots only make those worse.

Your friend needs to find a new Halloween costume and she needs to do some learning and some growing. Don’t feel like it’s your personal responsibility to fix her racist beliefs.

Anyways! I’m Auntie Jane and from time to time I’ll be hanging around and helping Auntie Manda and Uncle Paige.

Auntie Jane

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