I manage a shop that rents costumes, and I found two costume headdresses in our rental inventory. I pulled them and finally convinced the powers that be that we cannot rent these. Is there a respectful way to destroy these headdresses?

Hey! Thanks for you support! First, know there is a team of people behind you who are working on this same issue. We’ve got your back and together we can make a difference!

As strongly as I can say this, ‘There is no circumstance where dressing up like someone from another culture is okay.”

Why is it not okay to dress up as a Native American?

  • It hurts Native:
    • Youth by directly impacting low self-esteem, mental health, and feelings of inadequacy. This matters when suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native youth ages 15-24.
    • Women by perpetuating over-sexualized stereotypes. Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘Indian Halloween costumes’ and see the first thing that pops up.
    • Men by perpetuating the misconception that all Native males are brave, stoic, ruthless savages.
    • Our culture because we are already largely misrepresented by what is being taught in schools, adding Indian Halloween costumes and sports mascots to the mix only makes this worse.

Times they are a changing – there was a time when it was okay with society to use racist terms and slurs for all minorities. But over the last 50 years, things have changed, though not everyone’s mindset has.

How to destroy the costumes – this is really up to you, since they are not authentic. There might be varying opinions on this, but usually saying a prayer that releases any harm they may have caused and the pledge to do better might be in order. If they are not made of plastic you could do this in conjunction with burning them. However, for environmental purposes you might just destroy them, so others can’t find them.

I thank you for writing in and I’m proud of you for being such a great ally.

Take care,

Auntie Manda

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