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Group That Mocks Native Americans Gets Public Lands From Congress

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 310 yesterday, a bill that would take a section of the Ouachita National Forest and transfer it over to the Indian Nations Council in Oklahoma. It looks, at first glance, like a victory for those who have been advocating Native American land rights. Sadly, that’s first impression couldn’t be further from the truth.

boy scouts mock native americansThe Indian Nations Council is not a Native American group. It’s a chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. Almost all of its members are European Americans. The group mocks Native American groups by having its members dress up to play “Indians”. They organize themselves into groups with fake names like the Ta Tsu Hwa Lodge to make themselves sound Native American. They go to a camp at the edge of the Ouachita National Forest to hold membership “ordeal ceremonies” that mock real Native American rites.

Let’s pay attention to that camp, because it’s at the heart of the legislation passed yesterday, called the HALE Scouts Act. The legislation would take public land, which is supposed to be held in trust for all the people of the United States, and hand it over to the Boys Scouts of America Indian Nations Council for its private ownership and use. The Boy Scouts of America said that its ceremonies of imitations of Native Americans had become so popular with European-American families that their facility needed more room to hold all the people who wanted to participate. Yesterday, with the passage of H.R. 310, the lower house of Congress agreed to help them do just that.

U.S. Representative Dan Boren, a Republican from Oklahoma, commented, “Attendance has now exceeded the maximum number of available campsites and program areas, which is causing Camp Hale to begin turning away hundreds of scouts each summer. It is now critical for camp growth that the boundaries be extended.”

Imagine that a predominantly European-American organization set up a club in downtown Chicago in which children were taught to dress up in blackface and imitate African-Americans. Imagine that this group then asked Congress to help expand its facilities by giving it part of what had been public park. The equivalent of that is what happened yesterday, only instead of mocking African-Americans, the Boy Scouts of America are mocking Native Americans.

This kind of bigoted behavior isn’t new to the Boy Scouts of America. People who pay attention know that the Boy Scouts have a long history of discrimination against non-religious Americans and non-heterosexuals. A bit of racism added to the mix blends in very nicely.

The really sad part of this story is that not one member of the House of Representatives had the courage to vote against this bill. Only seven members of the House abstained from voting for H.R. 310, doing so by voting “present” instead of voting “aye”. These U.S. Representatives were: Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, George Miller, Peter Stark, Henry Waxman, and Lynn Woolsey. The rest of Congress wholeheartedly supported the bigotry demonstrated by this scouting, without a single speech of even mild concern.

order of the arrow boy scouts play indians

53 comments to Group That Mocks Native Americans Gets Public Lands From Congress

  • Anonymous

    In no way whatsoever do I agree with the Boy Scouts (or anyone else) discriminating against non-religious people and homosexuals. There are many things that I disagree with them about.

    That being said, it is my understanding that the Boy Scouts intent is more to honor Native Americans, not to mock them. This is rather an irony, perhaps similar to dressing up in blackface to “honor” blacks. I guess it’s probably misguided and ignorant too. But I have been acquainted with a few people who were involved in Boy Scouts, and it was my understanding that the intent is not to mock at all, but to honor.

    • Anonymous

      P.S. I forgot to say that I also do not agree with the legislation that hands over the land to the Boy Scouts. Again, there are very few things that I agree with them about.

      But simply in the interest of fairness I wanted to put out there that it is my understanding that their intent is not to mock Native Americans, but to honor them — even if they might be going about it in an ignorant and less than educated fashion. I believe that their *intent* is not malicious.

      • I chose the word “mock” in particular because it has multiple meanings. It means to insult, but also to imitate.

        In some cases, the Boy Scouts of America may think that it is showing “honor” for native Americans, as it creates cartoonish replicas of them. However, the organization is still mocking them, and I believe it is doing so in a profoundly insulting way. It reduces Native Americans to a few simple cliches, rather than genuinely respecting the variety and depth of their cultures. It makes them into costumes, characters in a ridiculous Western fantasy.

        The Boy Scouts of America “honors” Native Americans in the same way that slave owners gave work to African Americans.

        • Really?

          Instead of doing stupid stuff like this to encourage kids to learn about Indians they could instead have the kids dress in gang clothes and kill each other, or have them starve, or have them build casinos. Then they would learn about modern Indian reservations and how bad things are there…

          • That’s a rather insulting view too, “Really”. I think you do have a kernel of a good idea, though. All these pretend Indian Boy Scouts of America groups could offer a badge for going out and living with, providing service for another culture within the United States (besides the one that the scout grew up in). Of course, that presumes that they’re actually interested in understanding people not like themselves. Given the Boy Scouts of America’s long history of discrimination, I suspect that’s not the case.

            • Jacob

              Has nothing to do with being insulting… If it does the insult should be to us white folks whose history forced this to happen. Indian reservations are currently some of the poorest and least educated places in the United States. The land isnt good for crap and the people ahve nothing. Its no wonder that things are so bad there… I apologize if that came across as insulting to them, it was meant to be insulting to people like us and our forfathers…

              • I understand where you’re coming from, but the thing that’s important to understand is that there are many aspects to the current experiences of present-day Native Americans, just as their cultures have a lot more variety and depth than in the past. Not every Native American is living a reservation nightmare. The Boy Scouts trivialize Native Americans with their stupid costumes and pseudo rituals. Let’s not go the other way with an Indians In the Rez stereotype.

              • Scout94

                I’m a scout active in many of these “mocking indian ceremonies”. The BSA uses Native American (That’s how we refer to them in most forms, scripts, documents, etc.) culture in honor of the Native American tradition in America. We speak often to tribal governments and Native American leaders to correctly represent their culture. We have visited their meetings and even taken part in a pow wow in my home Lodge. And I have never met a Native American (I have met many through Scouting) that finds this insulting. We are honoring a people closely in tune with nature and mother earth. We use the same themes they used: Fire, the bow and arrow, the hunt, to represent modern themes in a more understandable and traditional way. And Scouting does every possible thing to keep it respectful. When the Awase Lodge in Wisconsin decided to pick an albino bear as their lodge mascot they first contacted the local tribe to ask if it was offensive. We do this all to honor Native Americans, and so far as I know that is how they see it, they encourage it if anything. When I saw this article I thought it was satire it was so unbelievable. And as I’m guessing you are not Native American, you’re not the one to claim if its offensive to you or not.

    • Leila

      One problem with this is an appropriation of the warbonnet seen clearly in some of these photos. That is a sacred item to Plains tribes and should no way be used/worn unless you’ve earned it as a member of a tribe. This is fetishizing, not honoring.

  • qs

    Haven’t you seen Tom Cruise starring in the Last Samuri?

    O well, I won’t waste my time being offended by this.

  • Wayne

    WHAT A BUNCH OF DUNDERHEADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wayne

    We should supports our Native American friends and other indiginous peoples….

  • Thank you for posting this. I am really disturbed that this was passed, and hardly anyone knew about it. I hope it is not too late to notify our Senators to make sure this will not pass.

  • Michael

    We have people living today on Reservations in South Dakota who were without food, water an electricity in January on the Cheyenne River Reservation an nothing was said on National or even NPR, but man do we pour out money an air time to other places not here but over there.
    We are still killing Indians an no it is not a noble THING to be an American Indian today, no I mean a Native American, no really a North American Aboriginal. I know for I am one, we just have so many laws being passed an so much paper work involved, things like this can happen an that is a tragedy an disgrace to not only Native People an our cultural ways but also to the ignorant non-Natives.
    Respect does not mean mimmick so please allow us a traditonal people some dignity an respect, I hope you can remember what that means.
    But then again, we have all these new age crystal people who know Native People are not livng the way the Creator wanted us to an so they have crusaded to do it the real Native way since we are surely lacking. An sadly, there are Native People who jump at this to line their pockets an egos with the scraps given them for SECRET KNOWLEDGE which can now be shared with the non-Native an the real message is loving kindness an compassion being part of ones life as vital as one’s organs to life on Mother Earth.
    A-ho Ku-nu

    • Makah88

      Thank you for you comment to this. I am an enrolled tribal member and have had many issues from my tribe awaiting a response from the government and then to hear they give middle class kids in costumes playing Native American a piece of land is absolutely disgusting

  • margeory

    I cannot believe that the land is being given to the scouts for this purpose. Land given and taken, and sold and bought, in itself is a joke. This is so wrong. I commend the educating of the children with the ways of us “Natives”, (and for the record it is “indigenous People” up here in Canada.) However, why not arrange for teachings from the “real deal?” Why not help the Indigenous people with their displacement and repatriation of cultural beliefs, so that we can teach our ways again and bring balance back to the earth and its peoples? The things that were done to our ancestors were only done in the last 150yrs or so and much much more recent. Slaughters were just barely concluded here when our very same countries sent the nations men to stop the nazi’s in germany… I shake my head at any of you who have not bothered to educate yourself on the truth hidden behind the propaganda, the ones who critisize our “reservations” and the way our people drown themselves in drink and drugs trying to escape the reality they have to live each day, the disassociation they have with their families, parents and grandparents sent to residental schools, beaten and bleached, and sexually abused, for nothing more than they were different than the man with the gun The man with the power who came in and flooded our nation, picking off tribe by tribe as they stole our land and our way of life. I am Metis. I grew up white, believing I was someone I am not, but my blood memory is strong and my Visions are clear… Perhaps you should seek the knowledge and you will feel shame for your attitudes, as I have seen.

    MY dreamss are of the Eagle and the Condor Prophecy, and I have had them many moons before I was aware of my blood within me… Perhaps with your internet skills you should look it up… and to follow the link below and learn the shocking words attached to our people and of what the coming of the white man has meant to us. Yes, I have European blood in me, because in the time when the settlers and the fur traders came, it was an asset for a trader to have a Native country wife, because it is she who helped him to survive the winters here, she who made him clothing, and moccassins when he had no access to purchasing these items, she fed him and cared for him, and then it was she who was so often tossed aside as he took his city wife. There is loads you should know, that would turn your stomach if you knew…
    The eagle and the condor says there will be an opportunity within the next while for life to come to a balance and a harmony, if we should accept it.. and the ways of the earth.. look it up and discover for yourself, and spread the word… when you read it, you will know..

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.aftertherain.com/images/PIC00047.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.aftertherain.com/&usg=__dNt21rDqvbJVI4aYFwk1mRxDhpc=&h=1944&w=2592&sz=1235&hl=en&start=38&sig2=E2k9dKv3QCfvCPkAYbb4zw&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=kWl7cNpoQm5zHM:&tbnh=113&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtruth,%2Bnative%26start%3D36%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Den%26ndsp%3D18%26tbs%3Disch:1&ei=eDyMS6iuEaOktgOxuq2VAw

  • I am a Boyscout who “plays” a native american. you guys are just assuming and listing to one view point so I decided to represent the other side- The boy scouts of america. The people who “dress up” like Native Americans belong to The order of the arrow” – “scoutings national honor society”.This organization which is part of BSA, was founded on a tribal ground of the Deleware Indians, The lenna lenupe.You act like we go to party city and buy $20 headdresses and some cheep shirts. My Chapter, which consits of several cities,buys realistic Native american Regailia. Headdresses cost between $150- $400. Then we buy drums and shirts, leggings and other things. That is just for ceremonies. We also compete in National pow-wows along side”real” Native Americans. The BSA has several people who are registered in Native American regailia.We do not have “fake” names, they are actually from the language of the deleware Tribe, which only a few speak today. We dont “insult” Native americans in anyway. I dont know why you think It is a bad thing??? I have learned almost all my knowledge of Native Americans in this way. Instead saying we “offened you” you have offened me along with other members of BSA.I have spent countless time memorizing lines, working on regaila. but you called us “The Boy Scouts trivialize Native Americans with their stupid costumes and pseudo rituals”
    … looks like you know nothing.

    • Makah88

      Wow I’ve never bought any of my regalia “real” Natives makes their own. It’s one thing to educate about different cultures but to go this far is unbelievable. Try growing up on the reservation and see what it’s really like, I guess playing Native American is easier though right?

    • Robert Runninfox Gurule

      MY Name Is RUNNINGFOX and I live In two Worlds. I am Native American. But live In a White World. I say this to let you all know That Tonight I was Disrespected buy a group of People That I held very High. I was Told I could No long be a Part of them. Because I were a Flap Patch that was given to me and 15 other boys and men for there work with the Native American people,
      Given to me buy my Grandmother And Grandfather and Other Native Elders. I have been With this Lodge for over 41 yrs. and tonight I was told that I could no longer be a part of them. am I rambling May be but I am so hurt. I don’t know what to do.
      so I have to let my Facebook friends Know. and I need your advice how reach an ending. so here it is. I been in the a Special of the Boy Scout called the Order Of the Arrow, they told me today that i could not have my Honor patch on my Shirt. If you see the Order of the Arrow they dress up like Native Americans with head dresses and war drums, have even been to pow wow dress like Natives, they are also give native name , and have Chief too and now have a problem with a real Native American Patch On his shirt. what is wrong with this is it because They can’t have one.??? or because they can’t trade for it ??. so my Facebook friends tell me what to do. but for my People my family and the Boy and Men that work so hard to be the best Scouts ever I will kept these honor Patch on my Scout Shirt.

      Thanks
      Runningfox

    • Ell

      Okay, so since you spend money and do research on native american regalia, i suppose you have every right to gain access and rights to land and the right to wear whatever types of regalia you want. /sarcasm

      You wouldn’t see non catholics walking around wearing papal regalia and insignia. You don’t see people who are not jewish walking around wearing yamaka’s. Know as much as you are taught, buy what money gives you the privilege to buy, but you are NOT native american. You are not part of an enrolled tribe. You have ZERO right to wear mickey mouse indian costumes. Costumes. that is what they are to you. You have ZERO right to wear war bonnets. the people who have the rights to wear these honorary items are KNOWN in the native community, respected, and have lived long enough to not have to have their history trivialized and idealized. The ones that are entitled to wearing these objects are not often questioned.

      That’s cool you have an interest in it, but that does not give you any right to feel entitled.

      when most native people see you walking around in hokey-ass “regalia” you waltz around in so proudly, we laugh at you. paint it any way you want, Brad. it’s still disgusting.

  • warriorhawk

    I am native american i hate it when want a bee natives want to play native

  • krob

    jclifford your are factually incorrect in you article. Please turn in you pen, you should not be writing.

  • ColdWinterWind

    Back in the early 60’s I owned a Boy Scouts Handbook. It contained much valuable information about ‘survival skills’, and how to ‘make do’ when you didn’t have the perfect thing to deal with a wilderness problem. Much of that info was based upon,or came directly from, Native teachings. There wasn’t much at all about playing dress-up in traditional Native clothing, or of creating ‘Native’ ceremonies.

    According to the BSA website (scouting(dot)org), in 2013 there were 826,045 Boy Scouts. Let’s flip the script for a moment.

    Let’s say that there were a national club and that the vast majority of it’s members were Native. Now let’s say that every week/month/year they would travel to their meetings wearing powered wigs, waistcoats, knee-britches and shoes with wooden heels. And at those meetings they would hold forth on the evils of Royalty and the Parliaments taxation without representation.

    Now you would find that all kind of silly, right? I mean, the United States has evolved; grown far beyond it’s Colonial beginnings, yes? To constantly someone portray European Americans as Colonials would be insulting would it not? As though they were stuck in the 1500’s and had not become something MORE than Colonials. Where is the ‘honor’ in that?

    Unflip the script. Many Natives do indeed live in abject poverty, have little in the way of material wealth and possessions, on and off reservations. But many Natives have reached lofty heights in science, medicine, politics; in fact in any aspect of CONTEMPORARY American society.

    Playing dress-up only teaches youth that the only way to think about Natives is “back then”, with zero consideration for “now”.

    Yes, it is an insult. And I will most decidedly not get over it.

  • Reeni Bo

    Outrageous!! A travesty!!

  • Charles

    its almost unbelievable that these bigotry minority’s that portray themselves as native Americans are actually getting the lands that rightfully belongs to the true native American people..I wonder what this Government will do next..It must be a deviating blow against the rights and freedoms of the true native Americans!!

  • gerald

    it is well to teach scouts and other ones native ways , one day they will need to know it to survive , is it not better to not teach and let people starve or teach where they maybe can make it , i know a lot of natives are in bad shape because of the whites but the young did not do it . it was the stupid and money hungry people back then so i do not hold the scouts responsable . our little tribe has kids day to teach our own + any kid that wants to learn native ways and most loves it . i had rather save a life than let it die . i do not like to see any one wearing a chief head dress unless they are native chief . that is the only draw back i got [ mekko brock ] [ i am mixed blood . mostly native tho ]90%.

  • the hunted

    we need to teach the kids the true history about our government and the constitution -which was taken from the indians read what it says about the indians -teach about the 1 st trail of tears-the killing of an unarmed village full of men woman and kids teach about the biggest mass hanging in this country done by lincoln teach about the seneca land and villages being flooded by kennedy -teach that untill 1928 indians were not humans teach that indians didnt get to vote till 1948 teach that indians could not own eagle feathers till 1978 teach that indian kids were stollen and put in schools till 1980ies teach that lakota kids are still being stollen today teach that indian land is still being taken and given to other countries for minning and the indians get not one penny

  • the hunted

    north america was not empty when the white man invaded it it is said that 100 million were here and by 1907 97and 1/2% were killed by smallpox blankets measels and other diseases the indian bathed the white man stank and didnt bathe for months at a time white man stole every inch of land indians could not sell it it belonged to 7 generations in the future

  • Native times

    This is one of the most racist things ive ever read, I am a Native American and our wack, sorry, no good, crucked, two faced, lieing, double crossing, sorry excuse for a goverment wont even give real natives a damnn dime but can give these little basterds LAND that was taken from our people. Makes me sick to my stomach, Im Native but truely ashamed to be american!

  • Angelo Normand

    It’s funny how since whites want to do our traditions its ok, but we was outlawed for doing them. Called heathens and devil worshippers. But its ok fir whites lol white privilege at it again

  • andrea

    Shame on you the Creator see’s all that you or anyone in this world and call yourself Nativez this is how you raise your kids to make fun of others Culture Shame,Shame On You please Creator forgive them for not understanding our Wayz Of Living Is Sacred

    • “Creator” is not an Indigenous equivalent to “jesus” or “one god” fyi. The genocidal colonist missionaries tried to translate the bible into an Indigenous language, (using Anishinaabemowin first I think) and since we have a different religion there are no words for “jesus” or “one god” so the translators used Anishinaabe words and ideologies that seemed closest in their minds. What resulted was forced cultural genocide and people walking around talking about christianity but since they say “Creator” instead of “jesus or god” and “happy hunting grounds” instead of “heaven” they think they are talking about an Indigenous religion. They are not. It is just masked christianity. Our traditional religious and spiritual ways are absolutely nothing like what the colonists force on us. Just be aware and learn more about this subject if you feel so inclined or curious to know more and learn from Elders and Leaders of our Own not from wanna be white people. And please don’t say things like “shame on you, creator is watching” or slap the word creator onto any other judeau-christian religion and think you’re being Native or following some kind of Indigenous religion because You Are Not.You are simply following the colonist script. Peace

  • Elsa

    Pardon my ignorance; but, can someone explain to me why this Boy Scout group picked a Native American name to begin with? Seems misleading when their name is on a bill before congress.

  • ColdWinterWind

    Scout94, I salute your courage to speak up to explain how YOUR troop behaves. I think it is good that you consult with Native peoples in your area to make sure that the symbols of Native culture are not used in an offensive way. I honestly don’t think than anyone thinks that you are intentionally mocking Natives.

    But how many times have we seen images of 5 year-old birthday parties where the kids are adorned in kitschy Native clothing? And whooping it up around a tipi made from a painted bed-sheet. (My ancestors lived in longhouses and probably never saw or heard of a tipi.)

    It’s doubtful that those parents INTEND to mock Natives. Chances are that they see Scouts wearing items of Native culture but, without hearing what the true meanings are, think “The Boy Scouts are goody-two-shoes and they do it, so it can’t be bad, can it?”

    Like a practical joke that goes horribly wrong, when the person on the end of it is hurt or publicly-humiliated, “I didn’t mean it that way.” doesn’t count for much.

  • ColdWinterWind

    Oh, and Brad? You are a perfect example of someone who refuses to acknowledge that someone else’s opinion might actually be as valid and important as your own.

  • the hunted

    we didnt use what you think of as tipis we had wigwams sweat lodges and long houses tipis were only used by some tribes ad the name the huinted is because they hunted my family for scalps men woman and kids and even befor this country or canada was a country my tribe was christian look up the huron carol and the date my band is mic kmaq or the elnu the friends you hunted us because we would not fight for eather side each eagle feather is sent by the creator do you know the creation story and the feathers represent prayers

  • 9/11 – “NEVER FORGET!!!”
    A continued genocide in north and south amerikkka – “Get over it”
    You are not honoring me, you are insulting me. It is not a surprise to see this, however. White amerikkka couldn’t develop their own culture to save their own lives, so they appropriate from others.
    I will pay the transportation costs of anyone who wants to dress like this, all you have to do is walk down the main road of my reservation dressed like this.
    Then tell me if you feel like you are “honoring” me.

  • Ms.NativePride!

    I don’t see any honor in your “mock ceremonies”…I am a First Nations women from Canada and to see children and young adults dress up in imitation sacred traditional clothing is like a slap in the face to our ancestors who earned their right and were presented with the traditional clothing… The person or people who decided that you children should dress up in costumes and perform ceremonies was not properly educated in the traditional systems…there are strict protocols when wearing traditional regalias and headdresses…

    it is great to see the interest and motivation to seek out knowledge on native people but with that said your efforts would be best directed in helping throughout reserves and helping local elders in the community…and other people in need of help… I would suggest you all burn your fake clothing because it is tainted with negativity and lies now and redeem your selves by going to the local reserves and ask for forgiveness because you were all guided by a poorly educated leader and have not earned the right to wear such sacred and honouring clothing…

    continue your search for knowledge and “honour” our ancestors and people by helping them…not mocking them…

  • C. Kennedy

    The fact that native americans are still fighting for land rights and the government just hands land to the Boy Scouts, that play act as natives is simply mind boggling, insulting and ignorant!

    IF, IF they were truly trying to understand and honor natives, they’d understand how dishonorable and disrespectful it is to wear headdresses, regalia, and imitate sacred ceremonies. I truly find it hard to believe there are tribes working with them that support these dishonorable actions. I want the names of these chiefs and tribes.

    Amazing tribes have had to buy back lands because the government refused to acknowledge treaties but they just hand over land to an organization because they play pretend. What a slap in the face to all native nations!

  • Whyte1knobBEN8VNdN

    i am white,black,native,latino,asian,hebrew,caveman,monkey,and soul. and HATED VERY MUCH. mostly by my own kind. and for doing good things for the community. GROW UP. LIVE IN HARMONY WITH YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. BECAUSE THATS WHAT CREATOR WANTS.

  • Whyte1knobBEN8VNdN

    PLEASE STOP THE HATE, EDUCATE THOSE YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH. HONOR YOURSELF AND YOUR PEOPLE

  • Serious Native

    I am a native american man with a family and nowhere to hunt! All the land is private now!How did that happen?

  • William dean

    What pure T horse hockey you people are spreading. Obvious that none of you have ever been in a scouting program. If you had you would know that all scouts pledge their honor to be the best citizens they can be. Until recent years many Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, govenors, generals and others have been boy scouts.

    Scouting honors native Americans in many ways through that programs in ecology, conservation and preservation of traditional Native American traditions. They study Native traditions in order to earn badges that help them advance. They not only earn badges in the learning of Native American skills but in many other areas like life saving, forestry, animal care, astronomy, community assistance, citizenship in the world, emergency preparedness, geneology, gardening, fish and wildlife management just to name a few.

    Now tell any accomplishment you have ever done to accomplishment I’d the world.

    • J Sprague

      Thank you. Some reason amongst all the stupidity,

    • ColdWinterWind

      I doubt that there are many people in the world who are better at surviving in desert climates than people from the Middle East, Africa, or the Gobi Desert.

      I’ve lived in the high desert of California and the scrub brush flat-lands of Southwest Texas.

      I have yet to see any Scout wearing a turban and robes, or a loincloth with a bone in their nose.

      That, by the way, is an example of stereotyping. Which is the same thing Scouts do when they dress up in clothing that is typically worn by Natives in the West/Southwest, and erect a tipi.

      All the learning you talk about is good. It really is important that we take care of the planet.

      But why dress up? Feathers are awarded for high accomplishment, yes. But they also have religious significance. If the Scouts handed out Communion Wafers as mid-day snacks the Catholic Church would be all over you.

      I seldom see any Natives wearing a breechclout, beads, feathers and moccasins except at a powwow. Most times we’re in denim jeans and a shirt, or a 3-piece suit, just like anybody else.

      You’re not honoring Natives. You’re honoring the past.

  • A REAL INJUN

    Well white people should stop touching our sacred stuff and go home to Euro america we been killed off and diseased by y’all also still going through bullshit today as we speak and have to live in little reservations even though all the land was ours but to get to the point I am Native and my greatgrandma ain’t no fucking Cherokee princess, but we still do our traditional ways but sucks that we can’t live the way we were also if you are white and you touch our native jewelry clothing and feathers too just to let you know and people too it takes 20 years off of your life so be careful who you touch NATIVE PRIDE FOR LIFE AAYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEE EHH EHH EHHHHH!!!!

  • J Sprague

    I respectfully disagree. This article is manipulative, biased, and bitter. This sounds identical to the Indian Guides and Indian Princesses program that are conducted by the YMCA. Participating in the Indian Guides was the highlight of my entire youth. Yes, each group took on an Indian tribe name (real names) and yes, at our twice-yearly camp we had council fires, and we had headbands with a feather in them. My Dad was one of the Chiefs – that was a position of respect, not mockery. We learned about nature and the outdoors, we learned archery, BB guns, canoeing, hiking, star-gazing, sports, crafts, etc. It was an AWESOME group for kids. To someone easily offended, the sight of (predominantly) european kids running around wearing head bands and calling themselves by tribal names might seem offensive, but as semi-liberal as I am, I simply can’t accept that shallow summarization. We mocked nothing, especially not anything sacred. I’d actually be offended by their offense, but I assume they’re just ignorant as to what these groups are really about. While it might have been a candy-coated portrayal of the American Indian, it was still respectful and honorable. Indians were the theme because of the respect we had for their traditions, not so we could mock them. We did not grow up thinking that Indians were Saturday morning cartoon stereotypes because of our participation – if anything, our experience led to the opposite perspective. You may not always agree with the overall organizations’ views on everything (I don’t), but anyone who thinks the Indian Guides or the Boy Scouts are not one of the most positive influences that a young boy could have in their life, is either misguided or petty. If every kid in the world could take part in these organizations (especially with their Dads), the youth of the world would be in a lot better shape. This is not shameful in the least. I can’t think of a better use for a small piece of land than to let one of these organizations improve and use it for the kids. What’s shameful is the manipulative way that the author of this article presents his/her biased attitude against an outstanding organization.

    The author of this article wants you to believe that this group made some kind of idiotic statement like “We’re Indians, too, and we demand land!” Which is, of course, completely inaccurate and stupid. A youth group chartered to responsibly help and guide youth to a brighter future respectfully asked to use a piece of public land to set up their youth camp. This happens all the time, all over the country, but some muckraker comes along and tries to sensationalize it into something completely different.

    • ColdWinterWind

      I have no doubt that your experience is as you say. Yet none of that belies the fact that by your own words you and your leaders are guilty of cultural appropriation. If you have not been officially adopted into a tribe, you have no right to call yourself by that name.

      Cultural appropriation stems from the fact that a group of people feel that the feelings of another culture don’t matter; that it’s okay to assume the trappings, customs, ways and use them as your own. Calling yourself by real tribal names implies that all you do is done under the auspices, the approval, of that tribe.

      As for this article, you assert that the land was just given for their use. Not so. The Hale Scout Act GAVE (by quitclaim deed) 140 acres of land to the Indian Nations Council, Inc. of the Boy Scouts of America.

      You can read the full text of the act here – https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr473/text

  • QUIET THUNDER

    WHY DONT YOU “HONOR” AFRICAN AMERICANS OR MAYBE IRISH, ITALIAN, VIETNAMESE, BRITISH ,OR ANY OTHER GROUP WHY AMERICAN ABORIGINALS. AND JUST SO YOU KNOW YOU NEVER HAVE THE RIGHT TO PLAY DRESS UP WITH A HEADDRESS!!! NEVER YOU MIGHT AS WELL WALK UP TO THE FRONT OF YOUR CHURCH RIP THE BIBLE OUT OF YOUR PREACHERS HANDS AND BURN IT RIGHT THERE! BECAUSE PARADING AROUND IN A SACRED HEAD DRESS IS THE SAME THING TO US. AND I HATE IT, I HOPE YOU PARENTS ARE PROUD FOR TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN BLATANT IN YOUR FACE RACISM! WE DONT RUN AROUND ON YOUR CHRISTMAS DAY DRESSED UP WITH BLEEDING HOLE IN OUR HANDS AND FEET TO “HONOR ” YOUR JESUS, AND YES IM NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN SINCERELY. QUIET THUNDER. ADMINISTRATOR UNITED URBAN WARRIOR SOCIETY WISCONSIN CHAPTER.

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