DEAR CRITICS……… THERE ARE MANY OF YOU.
IN RESPONSE TO BACKLASH ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE:
I HAVE READ YOUR COMMENTS. I AM LISTENING TO YOUR CONCERNS, YOUR OFFENDED POINTS OF VIEW, YOUR WOUNDS OF RACISM AND OPPRESSION. I DO NOT WISH TO HURT OTHERS THROUGH MY CREATIVE EXPRESSION.
I acknowledge that there is insensitivity, ignorance, and perhaps even an unintended “white privilege” element to my use of the word “Squaw”. Because of this, I have taken today to reflect more deeply on my use of the word.
I am a kind person of Mexican-Aztec descent. We all deal with our own “wounds” living in this world and I have certainly suffered my fair share, perhaps differently than many of you. (I can feel the collective eye-roll here…….”Oh, poor little white girl”. But you know nothing about my life.) I have compassion and empathy for people, for women, for other cultures and societies who have not had the privilege that I have had. I have perhaps acted distastefully and not shown that empathy through my use of the word “Squaw”.
I know nothing about any of you; nor do you know enough about me to make the comments and assumptions you have made about me. However, you have taught me some very valuable things through this tirade and onslaught of negativity brought my way.
** YOU HAVE SHOWN ME SO CLEARLY THAT ONE CANNOT TEACH NON-AGGRESSION BY BEING AGGRESSIVE. The people who most impacted me through their comments were the minority of people who expressed themselves respectfully, not those who littered my page with HATE and harassed me.
** YOU HAVE SHOWN ME THAT I HAVE MORE TO LEARN ABOUT THE PRIVILEDGE THAT I TAKE FOR GRANTED. I need to have more active humility in this area.
** NATIVE AMERICANS WHO ARE APPROACHING THIS TOPIC HATEFULLY ARE GIVING THEIR CULTURE A POOR IMAGE. As you asked me to re-think my use of a hurtful word, I ask you to re-think your tactics if you want to reframe societal ideas of your culture. Be the graceful, loving, evolved and spirited people that I identify with.
** I AM NOT A POLITICAL PERSON; I AM SHARING MY IDEAS AND LIFE WITH OTHERS TO INSPIRE, NOT INCITE.
** I HAVE NOT BEEN USING “SQUAW” TO GAIN FAME OR MONEY. I have many gifts to offer the world; I don’t need to resort to low tactics like that.
** IF YOU DON’T LIKE ME, WHAT I STAND FOR, MY FOOD, MY IDEAS, MY STYLE… I AM OK WITH THAT. Many ideas and differences are what make the world go around, there is enough room for all of us. I celebrate anyone who owns who they are and works to express that, even if it challenges my beliefs.
**FOR THE RECORD, I AM PART NATIVE AMERICAN. I AM ALSO CALLING MYSELF A “SQUAW’ AND NO ONE ELSE. THAT IS MY RIGHT. However, that doesn’t give me the right to hurt others and because of that, I am seriously reconsidering my blog name. This is a process; I have invested time and resources into creating a place to express and share my ideas; I ask that you understand this will take a moment to transition as I further evolve after these realizations. This can’t be done overnight.
I am sad for all of you who feel the need to express yourselves so hatefully. I’m willing to take the criticism and admit my ignorance because I know who I am, who is NOT AT ALL who you may think I am.
One final thought: even if this blog name doesn’t exist…. even if other phrases containing the word “Squaw” are eradicated… is that achieving real empowerment for Native American Women? Or would another version of empowerment perhaps be to lead a reorientation of the word back to it’s simple original meaning?
I am Mexican and I live in California; I look “white” but I am the recipient of unconscious racism often. My family hid from their heritage because my Grandmother suffered through a time when “Mexicans and dogs” had to walk on the other side of the street from white people.
I feel most empowered when I am owning my heritage, regardless of other’s ideas, and shifting perceptions through positivity, not hate.
XOXO, Leah (aka, Glamour Honky!)
You know why we’re angry? First of all, stop saying s***w. Stop it. You have no right. I’ll explain why later As a native man— especially as a white-passing native man, I have no right to say it.
There’s a difference between being of Mexican-Aztec descent and identifying as Aztec. The latter implies cultural affiliation. It really bothers me when people bring up blood heritage to excuse really fucked-up things.
The word that you keep using is INCREDIBLY triggering for a lot of people. Stop using it. I have no idea what started this tirade but stop saying that word.
When you say things like this: “Be the graceful, loving, evolved and spirited people that I identify with.” it plays in to the “Noble Savage” trope. I don’t like it. We’ll handle things how we want.
Your one final thought, “One final thought: even if this blog name doesn’t exist…. even if other phrases containing the word “Squaw” are eradicated… is that achieving real empowerment for Native American Women?” I don’t believe that’s for you to decide when so many people . Personally, I don’t think we’re in a place where reclamation is an option just yet. It’s originally a term adapted from Algonquian languages and I feel that Algonquian-speaking communities should be those who decide how and when it should be reclaimed on a wide scale.
P.S. “This can’t be done overnight.”
It takes like five seconds.