Jaine *
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Irish embarrassment - "The Indians"

Most of you are probably not aware of the "The Indians" as in Ireland's self proclaimed top showband.

A showband that in the early 1970s was looking for a gimmick and decided that misappropriating Native American culture was just the thing.  Not great, but it was the 1970s - there is no excuse for this in today's day and age and yes this showband is still going.   Still dressing up in tassells, feathered headdresses, war paint and singing about wigwams and squaws ('squaw' is a controversial term at best and sexist and racist at worst).

Recently there has been a campaign driven by Native American's for this band to drop the 'gimmick' which has lead to some rather nasty racist comments from both sides of the Atlantic.  As a person of Irish descent I am appalled at the lack of active listening from "The Indians" (the Showband and supporters) - it is not "honouring" or "flattering" someone when one group of people continues a behaviour despite the express wishes of the target group.   Many seem to think this is harmless, as harmless as "The Washington Redskins" and the "Cleveland Indians" complete with racist characture.   Native American mascots and groups that carry on like "The Indians" are not harmless - there is a lot of research written about the damage these stereotypes do.  A simple google search is all that is required to find this information.

As a person of Irish descent I'm not embarrassed by "The Indians" (unfortunately ignorance is everywhere), I'm embarrassed by the apathy and continued denial of Native American experiences displayed by my Irish bretheren, who could pressure this band into losing the Native American "gimmick" but don't.  Seriously - you would think Irish people would be more sensitive about cultural missappriopriation and stereotyping.

over 9 years ago 0 likes  2 comments  0 shares
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Maybe I'm missing the point but this is a "showband"? Meaning people actually go to hear them perform Native American "schtick", today, as in modern times? How many? You'd think it would just go the way of minstrel shows. Well Jaine, I guess there's no accounting for taste and the market is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of these things. I know that you're even more sensitive to stereotypes of native peoples than others because you live it. I don't but I hope you'll still appreciate my point of view. I think that changing the names of sports teams is absurd. There are people rooting for the Cleveland Indians, not mocking them. Today, we know what a raw deal the Native Americans got at the hands of the dominant white population and our government. It's done. But even growing up with the cowboys and Indians myths never made me respect native cultures less, but probably more. Being compared to a strong, brave, noble people is not demeaning to Native Americans. Except possibly that our modern, commercial sportsmen don't come close to the emulate the athleticism, skills, honor and bravery of the historic "Indian." Can't blame them for that beef. As for scholarship, it's kind of like finding an expert witness for trial. You can find supporting opinions either way.
over 9 years ago
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I agree with Flagday...changing the name of a sports team would be silly. But this band takes their schtick much further and I can't really blame Native Americans for being offended.
over 9 years ago


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