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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Palestinians, Peace activists dress like Native Americans in protest

Sunday January 14, 2007 22:46
by Saed Bannoura

Some 100 Palestinian residents, peace activists held a peaceful protest at Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank, dressing like Native Americans to send a message to the visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The campaign is planned to last for thirty days, and is called "30 days against roadblocks".

Some of the protesters chose to deliver a message to Rice by dressing up like Native Americans.

The Israeli Ynetnews reported that at about 11 a.m. the protesters gathered at the Hawwara checkpoint south of Nablus, and held up signs in English denouncing the military roadblocks across the territories.

The Ynetnews added that the protest was originally organized by a peace group calling itself "Palestinians for Peace, Dialogue and Equality".

The peaceful protesters slammed the Israeli policies of closures and difficulties the checkpoints impose on the Palestinians on daily basis.

The checkpoints restrict the freedom of movement of the residents, barring them from reaching their workplaces and their educational and medical facilities, in addition to enclosing them in enclaves, and even restricting their entry to their own farmlands and orchards isolated by the checkpoints and the Annexation Wall.

One of the signs at the protest reads, "The roadblocks are ruining the Palestinians' lives," while another poster aimed to juxtapose between the native-Americans, whose lands were stolen by the newcomers.

Another sign addressing Rice reads, "The Indian wars are not over, Ms. Rice, We are still here too".

On Sunday, Rice held a meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Abbas told Rice that he rejects a Palestinian State with temporal borders and called for a comprehensive solution to the conflict.

Rice told Abbas that the United States is committed to the Road Map peace plan, and that the US administration is interested in speeding up the peace talks in the coming months.

Rob's comment
The buckskins, feathers, face paint, and tomahawks are classic stereotypes, of course. The Palenstinians look like a cliché version of Indians, not actual Indians.

Interesting that dressing up as Indians is still a viable form of political protest. People have been doing it since before the Boston Tea Party.

Debating the stereotype (6/6/07)
A correspondent sent me a copy of the Palestinian news item. When I told her I had posted it in the Stereotype of the Month contest, the following exchange ensued:

>> for 1. the link is wrong and it goes to some capitol one "stereotype of the month thing" <<

You're right about that. I fixed the link.

>> for 2. i think the idea of a "stereotype of the month" is fucking weird <<

You're entitled to your opinion, even though thousands of people disagree with you. They've used it in classrooms, cited it in term papers, etc.

>> for 3. if you dont understand the commonalities/solidarity against of supra-colonisation of Indigenous people in kkkanada and Indigenous people Palestine, then you probably dont get it and prolly never will. <<

If you don't get that dressing up in Halloween costumes is stereotypical, you probably have no business forwarding such messages. Or didn't you know that most Indians don't wear buckskins and feathers?

Indians and Palestinians have something in common? Thanks for the news flash, but a section of my website is devoted to the subject: The Indian-Palestinian Connection.

In fact, I've known about the "supra-colonization" since Israel invaded the West Bank in 1967. I was alive and kicking then...how about you?



The debate continues (7/17/07)....

Thanks for the history lesson!

>> Dressing up in dramatic comstumes such as the Palestinians did helped milions of people recognize that we ARE on the same page as them in terms of colonization <<

Yes, and we Americans dress up as Indian mascots to show we're all on the side of our brave, fierce sports teams.

The Palestinians' purpose may have been noble, but their attire was stereotypical.

>> And i think blaming Plaestinian people for instigating a stereoype is extremly fucked up since they experienced the largest exodus in wolrd history and are facing some of the most brutal attacks and high and low intensity warfare from the Israli soldiers, backed by the us government, in the world. <<

"Blaming" is your word, not mine. I can distinguish between the justness of the cause and the silliness of the costumes.

If innocent schoolchildren or Boy Scouts dress up as stereotypical Indians, I criticize them. I don't give them a free pass because their intentions are good. If I'd been around when the American colonists dressed up as Indians to "throw" the Boston Tea Party, I would've criticized them too. The "rightness" of their cause (protesting the tyranny of the British monarchy) wouldn't have stopped my remarks.

>> I thnk your blaming them of a stereotype given the atrocities they face is simply petty. <<

I gather you think my whole contest is petty, so that's not much of a criticism.

>> And yes, some of our ppl DO actualy wear headresses and buckskin and i thnk its racist for you to assume all ppls are assimilated. <<

Some Native people get drunk, take government handouts, and act savagely too. It doesn't matter if these things happen sometimes. What matters is how often these things occur in reality vs. how often they occur in stereotypes.

Traditionally, only Plains Indians wear headdresses, and only on ceremonial occasions. And only a small minority of Indians are Plains Indians. But Indians are depicted with headdresses something like half the time. The preponderance of these "chief" images, when that preponderance has no basis in fact, is what's stereotypical.

>> Maybe you should revisit the stereotype that all Indians are assimilated and should walk around like some honkey ass captialist, oops was that a white stereotype? <<

Maybe you should learn something my contest and my work before you assume I think all Indians are assimilated.

I don't protest when Plains Indians wear headdresses on legitimate occasions. I protest when pretenders presume that Plains Indians represents all Indians.

>> The Indiegnous Palestinian people who did that were brilliant. <<

Maybe you noticed that I didn't comment on the "brilliance" or efficacy of the protest. All I said was that the Palestinians' costumes were stereotypical. Period.

>> and its an action that will hopefully be repeated. <<

If they want to repeat their protest, I'll be happy to include them in my contest again.

>> And yes, maybe you changed my diapers, does that make you smarter or more knowledgable than me or younger people? <<

When it comes to stereotype issues, probably.

Does your pro-Palestinian enthusiasm make you a better judge of my contest than the hundreds of people who visit it every day? See some of their comments at The Web Fans Speak.

And don't forget the basic Native value of respecting your elders. Let's fight on for our mutual causes without fighting each other.



The debate continues (8/28/07)....
>> think you need to get an analysis and look at what grassroots people are doing <<

What they're doing about what?

I see all the grassroots articles sent via Redwire. I see hundreds of articles on Indian issues every day on PECHANGA.net and Indianz.com. I'm probably as up on the Native news as anyone.

Incidentally, my Stereotype of the Month contest includes entries about Dudley George and Caledonia. Aren't those two of the biggest issues touted by Redwire in the last couple of years? Are they the kind of grassroots issues you're talking about? If so, I've covered them.


Related links
Indian wannabes and imitators
The Indian-Palestinian connection
Tipis, feather bonnets, and other Native American stereotypes

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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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