I hate sticky situations. I hate being caught between a rock and a hard place. I hate knowing what to say and not being able to say it.
I hate when middle aged white men, or ANYONE, as a matter of fact, missuses the term powwow to mean that we are going to have a “meeting”…
Grrrr. Leslie, explain.
So, I was in a meeting a few days ago. The participants were as such: multiple middle to upper aged white men and me, a 23 year old strikingly beautiful caramel, pecan tanned gal. In such meetings I typically air on the side of silence not because of my lack of knowledge but because of my lack of caring. Any who.
As the meeting was coming to a close one of the men, shall we call him Bob, stated, “Yeah, we are going to go back and have a little powwow in my office to clear this up.”
Y’all. Dearies. Sweet Apple Cinnamon Readers. I almost fell out of my chair. My vision got blurry. My blood pressure increased. And my temperature was nearly 150 degrees.
I have heard this used before but I thought SURELY people of ANY intelligence working with a Native American would air on the side of caution and NOT use such terms. The rest of the meeting was a blur as I spent quite a bit of time counting to 10 in order to stop my blood from reaching it’s boiling point.
Now, being in the position that I am in, in relation to superiority and such, I have debated seven million ways to handle this situation.
As young people advancing in the world, so many times we find ourselves in sticky situations where we wrestle with knowing we HAVE to speak up and knowing we HAVE to have a job. . . Oppression and the power of culture is R E A L.
To be honest, I did not speak up. I have not said anything about this situation… Y E T.. Rest assured, at the next utterance of this word, these men and I will have a discussion about the appropriation of the term ‘powwow’. I will gladly be showing them powwow videos and inviting them to the next upcoming powwow.
In the world of resistance we must remember that there is overt resistance as well as covert resistance. One is not more valued than the other. Covertly I am preparing myself with armor to engage them in a critical discussion of their use of that term. Overtly, I could have lashed out. But I chose not to…
Covert or overt, I appreciate your resistance and your will to right the wrongs of minoritized people.
Oh, yeah, and HAPPY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY!
Wait, I was done. Now I am not. I found something else…
I just casually typed ‘powwow’ in Google and please… see below.
Pow-wow: (n) A North American Indian ceremony involving feasting, singing and dancing
~a conference or meeting for discussion, especially among friends or colleagues.
Google, I blame you…