Saturday, July 18, 2009

Exploiting Apaches for Profit


I just read an article written in the June 2009 issue of 'Cowboys and Indians' magazine by Kathy Wise concerning Apache Skateboards.
It seems rather odd that none of the Indians in the photographs are smiling. I have been around Mescalero Apaches for over a half century and they smile a lot. Same goes for the various Pueblo Indians I’ve known in New Mexico .
They have a lot to smile about because they know how lucky they are to have a choice between the culture of the red man and that of the white man. They also get preferential treatment should they choose get a college education and get money from the U.S. Government each month whether they work or not.
Maybe the people of San Carlos are different than other Indians but I doubt it
There was a statement made about Miles being concerned about “owning the new imagery without being culturally hijacked”. The imagery shown in the magazine isn’t new. It appears to be a combination of ‘70’s era biker graffiti, amateur reproductions of old photos of Geronimo, and some designs similar to those found on Mimbres pottery
The only thing that has happened here is that an Apache emulated some material that he dredged up and modified slightly. The "new" art then instantly becomes images of Apache culture by a writer who is trying to portray an indigenous group of Americans as perpetual victims.
Unless Mr. Miles and his tribe are very na├»ve, which I strongly doubt, they were most likely embarrassed or even angered that this elitist publication couldn’t find some more worthy achievements than skate boards to merit an entire article,
Shame on you Kathy Wise.

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