Posts Tagged ‘Native American costumes’

The Native American as a Halloween Costume

October 31, 2011

We all seen people dress up at Native American Indians at Halloween.  I thought maybe this year might be different with a recent poster campaign started at Ohio University by Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS).  The campaign shows young people holding up many typical Halloween costumes: a person in blackface, a person dressed up as a Native American, a Geisha type costume, a man in a sombrero on a donkey and a middle eastern type outfit.  The posters all say “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume. This is Not who I am and This is Not Okay.”

So, after all the press these young people have received from their project, all the blogs, Facebook tags, likes, tweets, I thought maybe this year, our mainstream counterparts might understand why these costumes are offensive.  This morning, I was let down.

I was watching NBC’s “Today Show” as they were doing their annual costume contest and they were all in good taste: a Lego man, a perfume bottle, a man dressed up as a new york sub map, so I was thinking alright, no cultural type costumes!  But alas, the show hadn’t ended.  They had a costume contest for pets (about 2:21 is where the offensive piece is at) and that was where it got ridiculous.

Now, I think dressing up dogs in costumes is not fun for a small dog, and here is a woman coming out holding her dog in a headdress,choker, and other gear, while she is also dressed up as a Native American Indian.  Everyone cheered, even Al Roker made his usual jokes “Very cute, and How”.  I just wanted to gag.

I thought how come the producers didn’t think anyone might be offended? What do we have to do to get it across to them that this is detrimental to our children?  I am so glad my kids had already left for school before seeing this.

I would just like to request, please mainstream producers, before you start to mock a culture think about how those people feel.  It is not funny, it is not cute, we are real people.  STARS needs to send some of their posters to “The Today Show” NOW!


Letter to Editor of Wisconsin Newspaper- addressing Native American Stereotypes

September 14, 2010

The Wisconsin State Journal newspaper published this story on the Iron Man triathlon, where some supporters of the participants dressed up in costumes.  One person dressed up as a Native American.

Here’s a link to the story:

I felt this story needed to be addressed. I have enclosed the letter to the editor I have sent.

September 14, 2010

To the Editor of the Wisconsin State Journal:

I am writing in response to a story posted September 12, 2010 about the “Triathletes met with encouragement in costume” by Samara Kalk Derby.  The picture shown with a man dressed as a Native American, wearing a loincloth and headdress is an appalling and a blaring image of a stereotype of Native Americans conveying that we are only here to amuse you.  Native Americans are not a character for your paper’s entertainment. 

What is more upsetting is that Wisconsin recently was the first state to pass a law that banned Race-Based School Team names and logos. Many Native Americans were glad that Wisconsin stepped it up a notch to recognize that stereotypes of Native Americans should not be tolerated.

With this story, your paper has diminished Native peoples role as a person to a thing to be laughed at and unknowingly encouraging others that it is all right to do this.  I would hope that young children were not exposed to these actions, because they may get the perception that it is okay to make fun of another race.  If a child saw this man dressed as a Native American, then they think, it is acceptable to dress like a Native American and the cycle continues.

The Native American Journalists Association is against any stereotypes of Native people.  We would ask that your paper question the use of this picture and ask, could it offend any of our readers? Are any of our readers Native American?  If you would like any information regarding these types of issues, our organization is willing to help out.


Rhonda LeValdo

President, Native American Journalists Association

Native American Journalists Association
OU Gaylord College
395 W Lindsey
Norman, Oklahoma 73019-4201
405 325-9008 or