Tomorrow is Halloween, so I thought today would be a good time for a reminder of why it is not ok to dress up as an “Indian” for Halloween.
I recently went to the mall to do some Halloween costume shopping. They currently have one of those Halloween pop-up stores where the old Sears used to be. The name of this particular store is a well-known seasonal Halloween chain: Spirit Halloween. I wasn’t in there long before coming upon this area of the store:
They had 4 different women’s “Indian” outfits. 3 of which allow you to live out your fantasy of being Indian royalty, just like your Cherokee great grandmother.
Or you could just let your hair down, free yourself from the trappings of civilization, and be a “wild spirit.”
Don’t worry, guys, Spirit Halloween didn’t forget about you. Because we only have warlike stereotypes about Native American men you have a choice of two warrior costumes. You can be a “noble warrior”
Or, if you just want to be a warrior without all that being noble stuff you could be a plain old “Indian Warrior.”
Spirit Halloween also offers a variety of head-wear accessories.
For some reasons why wearing Native American head gear is particularly problematic see the following blog post: But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?
You should also watch Reel Injun for an explanation of why the “Indian headband” is a problem.
Spirit Halloween offers some additional accessories to complete you outfit. I especially like the “fringe boot covers” which are being worn by a model who is clearly not wearing any boots in need of being covered.
In a different section of the store they have Tonto outfits from the recent Disney film, The Lone Ranger.
Even though Tonto is a male character women can also join in by dressing up as this offensive and bizarre caricature.
Even more disturbing is the children’s outfit.
For the reasons why all of this is a problem see: Native Appropriations – “Repost: Step Away from the ‘Indian’ costume!”
And if you couldn’t find the exact offensive “Indian” costume you were looking for in the store, don’t worry! Spirit Halloween has an online store with a great selection of ways for you to be a horrible human being.