The 1491’s is an all indigenous sketch comedy group that focuses on the creation of videos, mainly distributed through YouTube , that challenge false Indigenous identities through satire work that exposes mainstream settler culture. What is particularly interesting about the group is their powerful commentary towards cultural appropriation.
In the below video ‘I’m an Indian Too’, the group depicts how hipster/fashion cultures appropriate false images of Indigenous folks. This clever video mixes, real images of appropriation with a satirical performance – all under the backdrop of Don Armando’s remixed version of Ethel Merman’s highly offensive song I’m an Indian, Too.
I stumbled across a First Nations comedy troupe based out of the USA while roaming the Internet. Stereotyping of First Nations and cultural appropriation are serious problems in our society today. Humour and satire have been historically used to bring these serious matters to the surface so that they can be debated. The troupe cleverly calls themselves ” The 1491’s” ( One year before Christopher Columbus “discovered” the New World). This is how they describe themselves and what they do:
“The 1491s are a sketch comedy group based in the wooded ghettos of Minnesota and buffalo grass of Oklahoma. They are a gaggle of Indians chock full of cynicism and splashed with a good dose of indigenous satire. They coined the term All My Relations, and are still waiting on the royalties. They were at Custer’s Last Stand. They mooned Chris Columbus when he landed. They invented bubble gum.”
You can find many of their videos on this link, or search them on YouTube. The 1491’s are using technology to create and post their skits, which enables them to broadcast to a wider audience all over the world. Their fame is starting to spread, and they have been guests on late night television shows.
Here is a skit they created that pokes fun at stores that sell phony First Nations items that heavily rely on stereotypes and/or cultural appropriation. Like all good satire, the mocking tone creates a space for society to reflect and to question their values.
Warning: Some of these skits contain mature content