Every Year Beauty Vloggers Dress Up As Native Americans for Halloween And It’s Disrespectul AF Especially When Black Women Do It

Last night as I was strolling Instagram I came upon a beautiful photo of a black woman dressed in what she described as a Pocahontas/Tribal-inspired look for Halloween. She had several photos and video clips, and all of the comments on the photos were of black women praising her artistry. So before I continue let me be clear: This woman’s makeup skills are, without question, extraordinary. She’s great at what she does. It is also clear that her heart was in the right place and she did not intend to offend Native Americans with her costume.

So this ain’t about her, personally. What struck me, however, was the fact that in all these comments, I could not find a single instance wherein somebody opted to inform this woman of the highly offensive nature of her getup. I couldn’t believe people folks don’t know that what you see above is a big “no no.”

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So I took the photo to my personal Facebook group, and was again, surprised to read the comments from some members:

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Native American women in the group responded to these opinions, stating that indeed, dressing or imitating their cultural garb, albeit well-intentioned, for Halloween, is offensive to their community:

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One reddit user explained it best:

Native here (Wampanoag). It has more to do with the types of “regalia” that are worn. The iconic feather headdress is reserved for a specific cultural purpose. If a native decided to go as a native for Halloween, you would not see them wearing that headdress. In fact, regalia often consists of many pieces. Each has a meaning.

A good metaphor: An atheist with no knowledge of religion whatsoever walks into the Vatican wearing the pope’s hat. He doesn’t know the meaning behind the hat, definitely isn’t seen as “worthy” by the followers of said religion, and to top it all off he took something that people have molded their lives around and simplified it as if it were just another daily lulz for them.

It didn’t matter, though. The ladies stuck by their belief that because they mean no offense, no offense should be taken. Myself and several of the other ladies in the group even attempted to give a brief history lesson on what actually happened to the real Pocahontas. We tried to explain that Pocahontas was essentially kidnapped, raped,  “married” to her captor, and died at the age of 21. We further explained that her people were decimated. It didn’t matter. Women of color, refused to accept that respecting someone else’s culture. religion, beliefs, transcends our own personal feelings.

Let us not forget, last month, Black women collectively praised this black mother for “reading a cashier for filth,” when said cashier mistook traditional African attire for a Halloween costume. Now it seems that these same women have a hard time understanding the very same respect should be paid to the Native American community:

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Now it may seem as though I’m calling out black women, so I want to be clear: I am calling out black women. And the reason is simple: we should know better. The term “cultural appropriation” is hot on the tongues of almost all modern black women. When we see images of the Kardashians rocking our styles and making it “cool,” but doing absolutely nothing for the black community, we are pissed.  Yet, we have no issue when the very same acts are being committed against Native Americans? It boggles the mind.

Every. Single. Year we see beauty vloggers disrespecting the Native American community by dressing in their tribal gear because they think it’s  pretty. Ripping off their culture because it’s cool, but never once speaking in defense of these people when they are harmed. And they have been harmed and continue to be harmed.

What’s also interesting to note is that the arguments of those unwilling to accept that this act is offensive has always been about how the offenders feel. “But, I love Native American culture,” they protest. Bear in mind, what they often think they know of Native American culture is what’s been fed to them by Hollywood. They even go so far as to provide examples of their own alleged Native American heritage as evidence of their right to throw on a Native American costume. While these people may indeed have some Native American DNA, when was the last time any of them visited a reservation? Protested in support of Native American rights? Learned about their sacred customs? Participated in a Powwow? Furthermore, their African heritage, no doubt, far outnumbers their Native American DNA, so why not throw on some traditional African garb for Halloween? Why not tap into that culture for Halloween?

I think the reason is simple: While there is an increase in Black pride as of late, many of us still fetishize Native Americans. Therefore, to have some Native American DNA, no matter how small, is worn as a badge of honor. And we are honored, not for the love of the Native American people, their strength, their resilience,  but simply because we think they are pretty. We have no interest in them outside of their aesthetic value. *cough cough, Kardashians, cough cough.*

I’ve rarely interacted with Native American people. I am not a scholar of Native American studies, but as a black woman, a native woman in my own right, it is not hard for me to respect someone else’s culture.

If we can understand why this is harmful:

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How hard is it to understand that this is likewise offensive?

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We have GOT to do better!

Well Hello! My name is Lisa and you’ve stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I’m a lipstick-loving, high heel junkie, mom, and wife. When I’m not here bringing you the latest in beauty, fashion, hot topics, and bits and pieces of my life with my family, you can find me over on youtube swatching lipsticks and sharing my latest natural hairstyles. Make sure you also follow me on Instagram and Snapchat under my brand name Lisa A La Mode. I’m a real person. I promise.

Lisa

Well Hello! My name is Lisa and you've stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I'm a lipstick-loving, high heel junkie, mom, and wife. When I'm not here bringing you the latest in beauty, fashion, hot topics, and bits and pieces of my life with my family, you can find me over on youtube swatching lipsticks and sharing my latest natural hairstyles. Make sure you also follow me on Instagram and Snapchat under my brand name Lisa A La Mode. I'm a real person. I promise.

13 Comments
  1. IT’S A FREE WORLD YOU DO YOU AND LET JAS WORRY ABOUT JAS…..HER GRANDFATHER IS INDIAN AND HER PAGE IS ON SOCIAL MEDIA JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE SHE HAS THE RIGHT TO POST WHAT SHE WANTS. IT’S MORE IN THIS WORLD TO STRESS ABOUT OTHER THAN CALLING WOMEN OUT FOR DRESSING UP AS ANOTHER CULTURE…..IT REALLY SHOULD BE LOOKED AT MORE POSITIVE THAN NEGATIVE BUT IF YOU WANNA DRAG THE NEGATIVE DON’T ASSOCIATE IT BY USING JAS AS YOUR EXAMPLE…THANKS…..JAS MOM

      1. In the same way that black people are always complaining about other ethnicities not respecting their culture, they too need to show some respect

  2. Well done! I grew up in a huuuuge community of Native Americans and I feel the same way! No we as black women do not get a pass to disrespect another culture just because it has been done to us.It is ignorant and offensive and there is no justifying it.Thank you for bringing this topic to the light.Wrong is wrong no matter who is doing it.

  3. We have to remember that we are NOT the ONLY minority culture, race, ethnicity in this country. Don’t drag Marc Jacobs for making costume out of our hairstyles for the runway, when you make a costume out of the garments from another culture. It really makes me maf because this double standard is what Caucasians use against us and even what men use against us.

    That one chick’s logic about telling Party City to stop selling it can be used by a white person who wants to wear blackface because they bought the skin darkening products for their costume, too. It doesn’t matter if it is for sale, you know it is disrespectful to wear it. Plain and simple. These are grown behind women being inconsiderate, not small children who do not know any better!

  4. We noticed you have a nice size of followers, which is a good thing for your blogs. However, you’re responsible for the material that you put out and allow your followers to read. We would hate to get a legal team involved, but we will take the necessary actions to protect her brand. This article makes a ton of sense and is very informative. However, you did goood by not mentioning her name, but her followers recognized her picture. You’re defaming her without any knowledge that’s she not apart of this tribe, which she is, but you failed to ask her that before putting her image up on your blog. Now she’s receiving negative mail because of you. Once again, nice article and very informative, just remove her picture from your article or we would have to take the next steps of legal action.

  5. Don’t West Indian folks wear head dresses? Why are head dresses automatically linked with Native Americans. They are a part of black culture too.

    1. this article is specifically referencing the American holiday of Halloween and the American custom of dressing up in a costume for Halloween, so I really can’t speak to what’s acceptable in other countries. i’m going to assume it’s not the same. though. It’s one thing to dress up in traditional attire to celebrate your country during a cultural event, versus throwing on some costume for halloween.

  6. As much as we demand respect we should give it. And our great great great imaginary Indian princess grandmother doesn’t absolve us.I’m

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