IMG_1952.jpg on Flickr.
Are these white people? From the other pictures these look like white people pretending to be Native Americans… Am I the only one who see’s how problematic this is?
Apparently this guy is Native, but I’ve seen other photos from their blog of clearly white people dressing up in red face and yea, it’s pretty messed up.
If the photo you’re referring to is this one, then you’re wrong again. It’s not “redface”, it’s actually the paint that the tribe they’re portraying used to use. Believe me, these folks do a huge amount of research, and they spend a huge amount of time and effort do to it right. That “redface” you mention is actually a mixture of clay, crushed cochineal beetles and real bear grease, just as the original stuff was, and the designs are taken from period paintings of that particular tribe.
A lot of time these gentlemen also go to such lengths as to get the correct tattoos, or haircuts that to the modern, Western eye, would be completely “impractical” for life outside of events, even if these things are not involved in their own personal religious beliefs.
It is to honour the memories of their ancestors and to portray the roles they have chosen correctly to a culture who stereotypes at every turn and opportunity.
It’s no wonder that, generally speaking, at least as far as what I have seen personally, that native re-enactors are often the most thorough and well done in general.
Yes, there are amazing Caucasian re-enactors, (who portray people of European descent) but you don’t often hear of Native re-enactors complaining about not wanting to wear aspects of clothing or alter their appearance to be completely period correct.
E.g. “I have to take off my false nails?” or “what do you mean, I can’t wear polyester? It’s a cheaper way to make a regimental!”
Speaking as someone who just shaved all his hair off last night, and was still washing off bear grease this morning: Well done sir, well done.
White people reenact as natives for the same reasons people do any kind of craft or pastime-because they love it. They love the culture, the history, and the legacy of the Native Americans. Reenacting is so much more than “dress-up.” It’s not even all about the clothes. Reenactors study language, cultural customs, and anything that relates to their time period. Reenacting should also not be confused with “acting.” The amount of research, money, and time involved shows how dedicated these people are. Anyone who would use their free time to travel to an event, cover themselves in bear grease, spend 2-3 days sleeping outside with no heat/air, indoor plumbing or modern conveniences, without pay is definitely not “playing dress-up”. Next time you see a “problematic” situation, why don’t you make sure you know what you’re talking about first.