This is for the non-Indigenous writers who don’t think there is such a thing as cultural appropriation. The writers who might have their eyes on this Cultural Appropriation Prize that was founded last week by a handful of Canadian media editors and journalists.
To determine if you have the credentials to apply, please take this true/false questionnaire:
1. I’m descended from Sacagawea.
2. In a past life I was Sacagawea.
3. I buy “Indian” crafts on the reservation to support those poor kids who should be in foster care.
4. I’ve always been drawn to “Indian” spirituality.
5. I go to pow wows, sweats, and other “Indian” spiritual ceremonies.
6. I was given an “Indian” name by a shaman in a weekend warrior retreat.
7. I am one of the Starseeds from Ken Carey’s Return of the Bird Tribes, and it’s my soul’s purpose to spread the Native message.
Did you score one or more true? Act on any of the ideas below and you’re in the running for that prize . . .
Write an Indigenous story for any of the above reasons.
Write an Indigenous story because it’s trending.
Write an Indigenous story because Joseph Boyden did it and people are still buying his books.
Write an Indigenous story because you yearn to slip into an Indigenous character’s moccasins.
Write achingly noble historical Indigenous characters.
Write a cool but charmingly flawed contemporary Indigenous character who falls in love with your white character and teaches her the meaning of an obscure quaint tribal legend that you lifted off the second page of a Google search and have reworked so you don’t think it’s recognizable.
Cleverly work the tribal legend into the title of your book to hint at your theme.
Don’t thank the traditional peoples from whom you stole the legend.
Wear moccasins that are not meant for your feet . . .
. . . because they will no longer be stolen from the feet of Indigenous writers who are telling their authentic stories.
Wear at your own riskShare: