The USA manifested its colonial and imperialistic destiny by stealing the lives and land of millions of Indigenous people. And as a society, we have been taught to forget that.
In this spoken word poem, Rowie Shebala addresses the impact of how that horrific destiny is still being perpetuated through systems of violence, like cultural appropriation, pervasive poverty, the prison industrial complex, the sexual assault rate of indigenous women, and the use of Indigenous images and names as sport mascots.
She explores the painful irony of how the American public and media consumes a mass-produced and contrived stereotype of Indigenous identity for frivolity and sport, while disregarding the actual people striving to survive the continuing trauma that colonization and capitalism built.
This poem demonstrates how we are all complicit in this oppression, and demands that we hold ourselves accountable by making changes NOW.
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Please read the following Everyday Feminism articles to read more about cultural appropriation:
- What, Exactly, Is Cultural Appropriation (And How Is It Harmful)?
- The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation
- 4 Ways To Honor Native Americans Without Appropriating Our Culture
- 8 Things The History Books Don’t Tell Us About Native People
Roanna (Rowie) Shaundiin Shebala is a Native American Dine (Navajo) from White Cone, Arizona and a graduate of Northern Arizona University. She is the author of the poetry chapbook “When Wind Chimes Speak,” and is actively involved in the Arizona poetry slam scene. Please follow her on Twitter at @RowieShebala