Bizarre Month

You can buy authenticity

A bizarre intersection occurs when October 31 greets November 1.

We leap from All Hallows Eve to Native American Heritage Month just by turning a page on the calendar.

Halloween agitates some of my American Indian brethren. Native regalia aren’t costumes and resentment brews when trick-or-treaters don feathers and fringe.

What gets me is the fake stuff—the Disneyfied Pocahontas off-the-shoulder deer-skin dress and the dyed chicken-feather war- bonnets.

I found on the web an outfit called “authentic Indian headdress” on a costume site. Just $35. Isn’t that what the settlers paid for Manhattan?

And now November arrives and with it a reason to honor American Indians. We get to see films, performances and art shows wrapped around a theme.

And that’s fine.

Just don’t forget the other 11 months of the year because we still have to deal with poverty and diabetes; mascots and Kennewick Man; grave-robbing and high school drop-outs.

Honor us by returning our ancestral homelands, recognizing sovereignty and ridding schools of shameful mascots.

[Photo from a website called Costumes 4 Less, which labels this as an authentic Indian headdress. See


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in authenticity, ethics, film, framing, human origin, Indian, journalism, Kennewick Man, Native Science, repatriation, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bizarre Month

  1. I’m with you on all of the above!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s