Dressing up like 'Indians'


taken in its entirety by request of website: http://www.nativecircle.com/ppdressingup.html

i will say this flatly - please do not dress yourself or your kids up

like 'indians'! although it should not be necessary for me to have

to explain why this is a no-no, i will elaborate briefly.... i have an

african american friend who told me that on several occasions

on halloween night he came to his door to find a white child who

was dressed up like a 'black' person, complete with painted face

and fake afro. he was never upset with the child, but did say he

thought the parents needed a swift kick in the rear! i also have,

as you can imagine with all the 'poca-haunt-us' hoopla, endured

countless cute little kids dressed up like 'indians' by their folks.

there are many problems with this. one big problem is that it

trivializes the american indian race. our traditional regalia is

much more than clothing. it is a sacred and personal spiritual

expression of our most holy ways. when we paint our face a

certain way, wear eagle feathers and design our incredibly

complex patterns bead, quill, leather, shell and so on, these

are all very holy and sacred interpretations of our spirituality.

to dress an innocent child in silly colored chicken feathers,

a brown paper sack and paint their face with mock 'indian'

designs is an insult to the sacred spiritual expressions of

american indian people. that having been said, i think it is

important to say that no one should ever 'dress up' like an

'indian', an 'asian', an 'african', or any other race. it is

simple common sense. to do this is to make a game of

somebody's ethnicity, to trivialize a race for the sake of

'fun'. by the way, a 'pilgrim' is not a race. *wink* so, it is

my hope that people will learn that it is insensitive and

just plain morally wrong to dress up like someone else's

race. may we all learn to be considerate of others.......

written by john two-hawks

Medicine Eagle

91 Posts

Specializes in ER-Adult and Peds, also ICU. Has 10 years experience.

In the era of political correctness it is very hard to believe that this happens. It is insane! I can see why someone would be insulted. I have never heard of someone dressing their child in "black face". That has been considered a no no for decades. With all the absurd PC today one would think that this is should be a non issue.



26 Posts

I can't really imagine the "black-face" costume post-1960's but I know some scouts will use American Indian regalia like feathers - I'm not sure how this would be viewed. Hmm.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

So obviously you are not able to view this as maybe a way to learn about someones Heritage. My children are all 1/4 Cherokee. They dressed up in Indian Regalia. Yes they had fun, but they also learned about their heritage.

Jo Dirt

3,270 Posts

Has 9 years experience.

I'm 1/8 Indian and I think little kids dressed like Indians are cute.


1 Article; 1,350 Posts

I'm 1/8 Indian and I think little kids dressed like Indians are cute.

But how do we feel about teen girls dressed like naughty nurses for Halloween? The intention might not be to be disrespectful, but the act is disrespectful. Just something to think about.....;)


77 Posts

Specializes in LTC/ rehab/ dialysis. Has 4 years experience.

I agree, I feel it's wrong to "dress up" as a member of any ethnic group. Just kind of crass, distasteful and disrespectful. Several years ago my mother and her friend made "indian" costumes which they wore to a Halloween party. Poor choice on her part. I told her so, she didn't care and totally didn't see that it was a mockery of a beautiful people.

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 23 years experience.

I'm not sure why it is a big deal. My ethnicity would include Welsh, Italian, Russian, Czech and maybe a few others. If my kids wanted to dress up as "Braveheart" for Halloween, would it be a big deal? BTW, a few years ago, they did dress as Indians. I thought they looked cute. What about people who dress as Priests, Nuns, Nurses, Doctors, Old ladies, etc?

Editorial Team / Admin


18 Articles; 30,666 Posts

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

Italian, Russian, Welsh, Scottish, nun, priest, etc. ..... are not races.

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 23 years experience.

what if I had my kids dress up as Caucasians?

Editorial Team / Admin


18 Articles; 30,666 Posts

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

Why on earth would you say that?

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 23 years experience.

I guess because I just don't get what is so offensive about dressing my daughter up as Disney's version of Pocohantas. Why is one race more offended than others. Someone with a caucasion background can be subjected to anything and are expected to be OK with it but some of those from other races are so quick to be offended when something is done even if it is done without malice. All persons should be respected without regard to race, but I think some persons sensitivity goes too far.

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