Native Appropriations is a blog with sharp (sometimes witty) social commentary on the ways in which Indigenous peoples of North America are portrayed in the imagery and imagination of popular media. Written Adrienne Keene, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a doctoral candidate at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, the blog is updated on a regular basis and because it is a fairly well-read blog, the debate that occurs in the post comments is often rich and sometimes fiery.
Keene was recently featured on Al Jazeera English’s social media program The Stream, in an episode titled “Don’t Trend On My Culture,” discussing cultural misappropriation:
Reel Injun is being aired on CBC right now. Cree filmmaker, Neil Diamond, takes a journey through film to discover his “Hollywood Roots”. He explores the Aboriginal identity that has been presented throughout the film era, from the silent films until now. He explores the legends and stereotypes that abound and how they have effected how many Aboriginal people see themselves or perceive that others see them. These are the stereotypes we’ve all grown up with, and as educators when we use films in our classes we need to be sensitive to these stereotypes. Certainly, some films can be informative if they are historically accurate but Hollywood, especially in the 1930’2 and forties found that there was more of a market for presenting Aboriginal people as savages. Frequently the First Nations parts were played by white people and actual Aboriginal actors were paid with cigarettes and alcohol. Some of the violence depicted in the films is shocking. This is an insightful documentary.