With the under-representation in governmental roles comes under-representation or misrepresentation in media and art. Television, movies, books- all of these things are routinely used to the disadvantage of the Inuit. For example, the more commonly used name “Eskimo”, of which the true origin is unknown, has been widely accepted to come from a derogatory Algonquin term meaning “eater of raw flesh”. The majority of the Inuit would not use this name to refer to themselves and refuse it. While the possibility remains of a different origin, most Inuit would consider this offensive. The misappropriation of the Inuit culture has become a more pressing issue in Canada and the US over the past few decades. One example is a fashion collection titled “Inukt”, a made-up word mimicking the language of the Inuit, was released in 2012. The collection is based on a Westernized view of the Inuit in Canada, mixed in with random chief imagery from the Great Plains tribes. The use of Native iconography in art and fashion is becoming a larger and larger problem in regards to all tribes in North America and across the world. H&M’s fashion headdresses, a piece of clothing that holds incredible significance to several tribes, being worn at music festivals with no respect, the use of “tribal” patterns that were stolen by a large corporation from a weaver in Mexico who received no money for her original design, sports mascots that do nothing but encourage racial stereotypes- nobody but the rich, white population benefit from these. Stealing an artist’s designs or a piece of art that an entire culture respects is disrespectful and separates the non-native population from the native people even more. Wearing a “sexy Pocahontas” costume for Halloween while the real people that costume is based on suffer from centuries of discrimination is hypocritical at best, and racism at worst.
August 9, 2019 0 Comments