STAR – Educational No-Nos

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“Holding pow-wows, or any other pretend event based on stereotypes, without any Native people there to moderate the (mis)use of their culture, is nothing short of appropriation and even racism. Some teachers say, “Its so harmless and so cute!” It is VERY harmful to Native children who feel their culture is being mocked and undermines important ceremonies of a thriving culture. Even worse, Native students who complain to their teachers are often punished for speaking up about how they feel.

These pictures may seem innocuous enough to those who have no understanding of Native cultures, but imagine schools hosting an event where all the children pretend to be Jewish or African-American. Imagine if you asked your students to make up Jewish or Black names for themselves, for them to dance around, and make funny Black or Jewish noises. If you have a question about whether or not an activity is suitable, ask us.”

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