Not sure what to be for Halloween? How about a Native American? Sorry, are they called Native Canadians on this side of the border?
This article will help you have the most authentic Native costume ever. Heroic and sexy, a Native American costume will help you stand out from the crowd.
First, you must consider the inspiration for your costume. When you think of a Native American, perhaps you think of Chief Wahoo or Pocahontas.
Maybe you are inspired by Dior’s most recent line, Sauvage, or you really want to honour your great-grandmother who was a Cherokee princess. Whatever inspiration you have, you will strut your stuff with confidence knowing that stereotypical depictions of Indigenous Peoples such as your costume contribute to genocide.
By dressing up as an Indigenous person, your costume contributes to a culture of mocking Indigenous cultures and inhibiting peoples’ abilities to connect with their identities on meaningful levels.
Wait, what Indigenous peoples?
Do they even still exist?
Let’s move on.
After you’ve got your inspiration figured out, you need to set up your traditional garb.
It’s got to be perfect with all the deer hide and tassles, right?
And you can’t forget those plastic beads, the braids, or the feathers dangling from your hair.
Also, it must be sexy—a Native isn’t a Native unless she’s sexy and helpless without a handsome John Smith nearby, am I right, ladies?
That sexiness is what helps perpetuate the patriarchal system that objectifies actual First Nations, Metis, and Inuit women that has them killed.
A Native American costume isn’t right until it contributes to the genocide of women and girls on lone highways by men who see those costumes and think actual Native women are asking for it.
Just forget the fact that Pocahontas (Matoaka, as was her real name) was actually a child who was raped and kidnapped.
Let those tassels fly!
And who can forget the gorgeous headdress you need to wear. It isn’t like it was illegal for Native people to practice their
Indigenous cultures in the times your parents were going to high school, so it’s totally okay.
But you’re honouring, right?
Because wearing a costume you bought from Party City and will throw out on November first is equivalent to donating your time, money, and resources to being on the front lines with Indigenous Peoples protesting environmental injustices, saving Indigenous languages, and petitioning for clean water on reserves.
No, we get it—it’s totally the same.
Mad respect for the Wannabe Tribe.
I’m sure no Native will slap you silly if they see you out wearing fringe and feathers on the thirty-first.
You’ll be fine.
I mean, any Native that exists is already wearing their regalia 24/7 anyway, so you’d be able to spot them before they spot you.
Everyone knows there’s no such thing as a Native person with pale skin wearing a t-shirt and jeans!
(And… because I probably have to, this is a work of sarcasm.)
Are you interested in actually engaging with Indigenous cultures on a meaningful level?
Visit the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre in St. Paul’s. We are happy to have you.