Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Honeymoon is Over. . .

. . . but this picture Becky took of me in Niagara Falls lingers on.  Normally I'd title a picture like this "Canada is Racist" and move on, but I have mixed feelings about all the Indian stuff I encountered up north.

Niagara Falls makes me wet.

Along with Health Care, lack of handguns, and being America's hat, Canada is known for its Natives.  It's tough to think of Canada without thinking of totem poles and canoes.  I don't know why Indians have such a strong political presence up north relative to US.  I do know I'd be tickled if one of our Olympic teams designed a jersey which somehow acknowledged that Indians live here.

Which is why, despite the grunt on my face in the picture, it's tough for me to call shenanigans like I usually do.

Would I rather Canada's Indians remained invisible, like they are most places?

The gimcrack tomahawks and teepee geegaws cramming the gift shop are probably every bit as asinine a tribute to Native culture as Ke$ha's fucking headdress, I just can't tell.  I can't see Niagara Falls clearly, and not because of the mist.  I went there a lot as a child, and I loved every visit.  I loved the bow and arrow sets then, and I was tempted to buy for one Dylan as an adult.  Yeesh.

Ultimately I guess I'm bothered by what always bothers me about shit like fringe shirt headdress dude; no one in my family has ever worn a headdress or a fringe shirt, or carried a hatchet unless chopping wood was in the offing, and they're Indian as hell, cos.  Being Indian is not a thing that exists in the past, in a teepee, in a buckskin shirt, eating scones around a fire.  Indians hang out in jeans and t-shirts and watch Cartoon Network while eating popcorn, just like you.

As long as Indian is something that can be patterned into a rug, or worn as a costume, or sold as knick knacks, it serves to make real Indians invisible.

And that sucks.

4 comments:

  1. And that isn't going to change until people stop wanting native people to live in movies and the stone age and let them live in the same world - with the same choices - that we do.

    Maybe some of these things represent one aspect or another of a culture but thats all it is - one aspect.

    We all need to grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Exactly, our past is one aspect of our culture. It's so odd to be constantly defined by it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perhaps you should retaliate by placing some random mannequins dressed in colonial garb around the country with signs saying "This is what an American looks like".

    ReplyDelete