les cheveux trempés dans du miel et de caramel (delux_vivens) wrote in debunkingwhite,
les cheveux trempés dans du miel et de caramel

andrea smith.

Indian communities are flooded with people who want to know more about them—New Agers looking for quick spiritual enlightenment, anthropologists eager to capture "an authentic culture thought to be rapidly and inevitably disappearing,"2 and Christians eager to engage in interreligious dialogue. How one evaluates these attempts to understand and "know" Indians involves in large part how one analyzes the primary causes of the oppression of Native peoples. Many people—Native and non-Native alike—believe that the primary problem Native peoples face from the dominant society is ignorance. That is, non-Indians oppress Indians because they are ignorant about Native cultures. By this reasoning, if only non-Indians knew more about Indians, they would be nicer to them. Thus, even if attempts to "know" more about Indians are problematic, we can assume that at least these attempts are a step in the right direction.

Without wanting to fashion too simplistic a dualism, I suggest that the primary reason for the continuing genocide of Native peoples has less to do with ignorance and more to do with material conditions.. . If we frame Native genocide from a materialist perspective, then we have to rethink our analysis of non-Native ignorance about Native cultures. This ignorance becomes a willful ignorance in which non-Natives tend to selectively and opportunistically draw knowledge about what they think is Indian, largely because it is in their economic interest to do so. To authentically understand and represent Native peoples would demand, first of all, a reappraisal of non-Native, colonialistic attitudes of entitlement to indigenous lands. Without such a reappraisal, most efforts to "know" Indians will be necessarily less than benevolent in their intent and in their effects.

Spiritual Appropriation As Sexual Violence -Andrea Smith
Tags: cultural imperialism, current events, historical topics, indigenous peoples, infrastructural racism, native american

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