Poca-HOTTIE

My strong dislike of the Poca-HOTTIE costumes is well known but I come to you also as a Native American who dressed as Pocahontas for quite a few Halloween’s as a child. Why? Because she was all that I knew. She was my idol.

I was ignorant.

You may be.

After reading this… You will NOT be ignorant any longer….There will be no more excuses..

Halloween season always beckons the discussion of culture sensitivity. And again, Halloween beckons ignorance and downright racism in our society.

Let me explain WHY dressing as a Poca-HOTTIE or any other form of Native American is insensitive to ME. I am not speaking for the entirety of my culture. I am not speaking for every Native American… I am speaking for myself.

As I come across pictures of gradthose of you dressed as Native Americans or ‘Indians’  and I find that you are typically adorned with various colored feathers on your head or on your garment. This is my first and largest pet peeve. Allow me to explain.

To me, earning a feather is one of the highest honors. An honor that I am humbled by. When I graduated from high school as well as college I received an eagle feather and this experience almost brought me to tears. Yet, there are costumes adorned with them as if they are nothing. To me, to be given a feather is an experience that I will never forget yet you treat them as if they are nothing. This, my friends, this is but one reason why I despise this Poca-HOTTIE practice.

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These costumes disrespect the traditional clothing of my people. As a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina I take much pride in representing my people when wearing the traditional Lumbee regalia. So much pride, in fact, that I spend/spent countless hours choosing fabric, seeking assistance, fitting and putting together my traditional regalia. Yet they are sold around this time of year for just anyone to wear.

This in itself is disheartening.

I promise, I am nearly done. My last, and FINAL reason why this fad is insensitive is because it continues to perpetrate stereotypes that are untrue. Many do not understand how dangerous theses stereotypes are. However, it stings my heart when I am asked questions that I know are rooted heavily in stereotypes. It is even worse when these stereotypes deeply invade those that have never encountered Native Americans. For this is their idea of us. When you say Native American they immediately think of Poca-HOTTIE. This is not what I want for myself or my people. I, in no way, resemble Poca-HOTTIE. At no powwow or cultural event have I ever witnessed anyone wearing anything that even resembles these costumes. You, my dear friend, are under false pretenses if you think this speaks to my culture.

Yes, yes, I know. You meant no harm. You don’t think you are hurting anyone. You’re honoring us. You think it’s okay.

You are harming us. You are hurting us. You are NOT honoring us. It is NOT okay.

I live for the day when this is disgraced in our society… until then…

xoxo

Miss Locklear

One thought on “Poca-HOTTIE

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