Dana Lone Hill: Feather costumes demeaning to Indian women

"When I look at pictures of my grandmothers from back in their hey day I feel proud. They were all strong women. You could see it in their eyes. I have one picture in particular of my Great, Great Grandma Molly and her daughters, Great Grandmothers Julie and Louise (married names). In the picture they are tired; hands bandaged and holding blades. They were "ga bla-ing" meat, cutting it thin and spreading it out to dry. The sheets of meat are hanging behind them. As much as the boarding school tried to colonize them, they still carried this tradition with them. A tradition I didn't learn until I was in my 30's. However I did learn to make wasna (dried meat and chokecherries) at a young age from my Grandma Fanny. Grandma Fanny ran new moon inipi (sweat ceremony) for women. So I grew up surrounded by women who knew the songs and traditions from our past. All my moms friends and cousins were my tunwin (aunts). My tunwin Joyce would always wi'caglata at the drum. Standing behind the singers and echoing, or singing behind them. She probably doesn't even know how many little girls she taught the songs to- but being around these strong Lakota women taught me and my friends how to be and act around each other. Of course, we all grew up and live separately now but I am sure they remember those days under the new moon at Grandma Fanny's sweats when the women gathered and sang the songs into the night.

These are the women of my tribe.

Beautiful, strong, Lakota women.

So when I see a hipster dressed as a over-sexualized, skanky, little wannabe in a teeny, tiny fake buckskin dress and purple chicken feathers in her hair that are supposed to represent a head dress that only men wear, I want to rip the chicken feathers off her head and give her a piece of my mind."

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Dana Lone Hill: Don't Make Me Rip Those Chicken Feathers Off You (Last Real Indians 10/29)

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