28 June 2007

the siouxpranos

greetings, brady bravers ... we've been at the native art market in INDIANapolis and been away camping brady brave style in southern INDIANa ... will resume bloggin' bravely, brady bravely, soon ... meanwhile, check out our cousins' artwork at http://www.noconaburgess.com/ and http://www.quanahparkerburgess.com/ ... and for those looking for the sopranos, indian-style, check out the siouxpranos ...

21 June 2007

paying "indians" to play "indian" ...

thanks to Newspaper Rock (Where Native America Meets Pop Culture) for Indian Country Today link to an article entitled "paying to teach and 'play indian.'" folks across the u.s. continue to pay for "indian" spirituality. as D'Shane Barnett (Mandan and Arikara) was quoted in the article, "People cannot claim to understand our ways with one breath and then offer to sell them with their next breath.''

here at the bureau (a free site, incidentally, for all the brady bravers out there, unlike supposed "new age native healing" sites where you, too, can find the inner-"indian" for just $99), we don't want to disrespect those who are trying to find their way in this world. but some folks are profiting from other people who, as Barnett has been told by "a couple of different medicine people," are "filling a void.'' cultural appropriation time and again for hundreds of years here, and it continues time and again. (NBC's Today Show, as the bbb has mentioned before, helps to promote it.) many people are seriously hurting, are in need of healing, and others are cashing in on that.

here at the bureau, we'd add that in many settings, the phrase paying "indians" has interelated ambiguities: 1) paying as a verb, as in non-natives forking over money to "indians," which in quotes here, means those pseudo-"indians" who base their work on non-indigenes' understandings of indigenous approaches. 2) paying as an adjective, as in the new pseudo-"indians" becoming "indians" through payment. continuing today's language lesson, bobby "little bear who loses his way" brady will now demonstrate it in a sentence: the paying "indians" are paying "indians" for playing indian to become paying "indian" players. thanks, bobby.

but pseudo-ers/pretenders don't need to pay to play. in the next bbb post, we'll share with you what to do. stay tuned ...

15 June 2007

greetings ...

a big brady brave greeting to the million brady brave readers out there. (a million or a hundred, something like that with some zeroes in it.) many thanks to old friends and new ones for reading. many thanks as well to those of you writing the bureau of brady braves (brady_braves_bureau@yahoo.com) with your praise and kindness. many thanks to www.racialicious.com/ for posting the bbb's bit on the civil rights game (back in march) and more recent bit on martha stewart. in a bit of a bloggin' slump right now as we work on several projects and likely prepare to relocate the redface "bureau" to elsewhere in indian country. (may soon return to central time zone, i.e., texas time). also rethinking the current brady brave boundaries and approach for the content here.

meanwhile, the bbb still expects to return with posts next week, quicker'n you can say carol-marsha-jan-cindy-mike-peter-bobby-greg-alice-sam-tiger-cousin oliver-and chief eagle cloud. (a special smoke signal shout-out to angie, brady bravin' fan! this list-a-familiar names is dedicated to you.)



08 June 2007

Playing "Indian," The Week in Review

this week ... the Bureau of Brady Braves spotted a quick instance of redface in a rerun of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957-1960, CBS). the usual characters of lucy, ricky, ethel, and fred performed a skit set in the wild west. fred played a bartender; lucy played an "indian." with tomahawk in hand, she tackled fred behind the bar. they reappear in a few moments with fred's bald head now covered with lucy's hair, and lucy wears a bald skincap. so, playing "indian" means here: scalp or be scalped? of all american sitcom characters (and that includes thousands since the 1940s), lucille ball (the actress) may have played "indian" more than any other non-native character: in I Love Lucy episodes "the adagio" (as an "apache" dancin' 'round foolishly) and "the indian show" (as a hiawatha-wannabe) and in The Lucy Show (as the "wife" of an "indian chief" who gives her the state of utah for a wedding gift).

and where can you, like the bbb did this week, catch Lucy in redface? on a local Christian channel. no, not surprising. for the bbb, a local Christian channel supplies viewers with occasional "indian" players in the forms of Little House on the Prairie, The Andy Griffith Show, and The Beverly Hillbillies (i.e. "wholesome" family programming for ... you know ...) Ever thought about what constitutes family programming on Christian channels? ever thought who's included and who's excluded, exploited, and exoticized in their comedic programming?

earlier today, on superstation wgn, aired an episode of the sitcom home improvement. looked like an early episode, maybe season 1, in which the youngest son and his cub scout friends want to play "indian" like some other cub scouts they know did: by constructing a tipi and eating "beef jerky made from real meat," as the youngest son said. i had heard recently from a Ho-Chunk friend about home improvement and "indian" play. i'm guessing she was referring to this episode.

yesterday, on everybody loves raymond, a guest character (who's better known for portraying uncle leo on seinfeld) teased frank, ray's dad. there was talk of the macho, tough-talking frank petting a pet bunny that ray and his brother had when they were little. and the guest character said that he and frank's other friends were going on and on about it. while motioning like he was banging drums, frank's friend said, "it's like tom-toms. [chanting] 'Frank pet a-bunny, Frank pet a-bunny.'" a strange bit within the realm of "indian" play? [note: the bbb is not known for watching a lot of tv, especially since not much good is on tv. all three of the above references, for example, were caught while flipping channels during a time (5:00-6:00 pm) that the bbb's 10-month-old daughter was not chewing on the remote.]

elsewhere in playing "indian" this week, a "California man won $3.2 million on penny slot machines at the casino owned by the Pauma Band of Mission Indians." okay, not exactly playing "indian," but still worth noting it's the biggest prize ever in penny slots in California.

the bbb emailed martha stewart's tv people about the "katonah" trademark but no response. not surprised.

recently-retired "chief illiniwek" (formerly of the university of illinois) is currently accepting offers for summer gigs. so, for your next lone-ranger-and-tonto-themed birthday party, atlanta braves' tomahawk chop soiree, or intimate new age gathering, consider hiring "chief illiniwek" for your entertainment. call 1-900-ANTI-N-D-N, ask for the "Retired Racism" department, and tell 'em the BBB sent ya. first 50 callers receive a free foam tomahawk.

to read about three real indigenous folks (all Navajos) not playing "indian," but instead receiving doctorates in engineering in spring 2007 from the university of arizona, check out this article at indiancountry.com. congrats to all three and to all other indigenous graduates! the bbb wishes you well. may you use the education to benefit your peoples, your nations, yourselves.