Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Calling Out Appropriation: Learning about the Native Community In Seattle

Native American history is one that is deeply rooted within the creation of our nation-- The fables, the history, the art not only give us life lessons, but draw a path for the future. Native American history has left an imprint on our country. It is important that we honor and celebrate this community in their own right. 
When we think of Native American Heritage, it is important to remember that the Native American community is incredibly diverse with varied traditions and cultural practices that represent different tribal nations. Main stream culture often does not accurately represent or respectfully depict Native Americans, and does not account for their diversity. Along with this, Native American symbols and tradition are often misused and abused by those who neglect to look into the culture and the history of the people they are representing. This practice is called cultural appropriation, which is the act of taking or appropriating the cultural ideas, expressions, artifacts, symbols, fashion, or history of a culture that is not one’s own. In this way, people have taken and continue to take pieces of Native American culture and tradition and use them for their own benefit without asking for the permission of the people these traditions come from.If you want to learn more about this, there is an awesome blog called Native Appropriations that gives current examples of how this process of appropriation continues to hurt and misrepresent the Native Community today. 
Instead of appropriating the beautiful, unique, and diverse aspects of different Native communities, I wanted to find more ways that we can celebrate, recognize and be aware of the communities in our area. And specifically, I wanted to find some things that Native Youth in our area are doing to create community and celebrate their culture.

Resources for Urban Native Youth In Seattle

Seattle has some pretty cool resources for Native youth. 

Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council is one of those organizations. Their main goals are to enhance tribal identities as well as increase personal growth and wellness. The meetings are a way for Native American Youth to engage in different cultural activities, as well as community building and social gatherings. They gather every Tuesday at the Heritage Cafeteria (1330 N. 9th Ave Seattle) from 6:00-8:30 pm. 

RedEagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre is another great way for urban Native youth to find community and empowerment through performing arts, music, and storytelling that celebrates their Native tradition, history, and culture.

To learn more about different non profits around the Seattle area that work to foster the urban Native community check on the The Native Circle at. http://thenativecircle.org/nonprofits/.

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