Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm a Brat Camp NDN

Did anyone see the most recent episode of the ABC reality show Brat Camp?

For those that don't know, the show follows a handful of troubled teens as they go through an Outward Bound type camping experience to try and overcome their homelife problems with the help of the camp couselors. It's actually pretty good, and you come away grateful that you are no longer a teenager.

Anyway, I hear that last night's episode, which I did not see, had the kids go through what they called an "Indian Naming Ceremony" where they painted their faces with random symbols and received medicine pouches. What? Did these kids and couselors suddenly become Indians when I wasnt looking??

Now ABC, on their website, says the kids "receive their own special Earth Names in a mystical Naming Ceremony". They don't specifically say "Indian" (although we all know "mystical" is code for Indian). And I hear from other Indians that they did indeed call it an Indian naming ceremony on the show and they did receive medicine pouches. And yes, they painted their faces, you know, Indian style.

But here's my question. What makes white people think that they can have an Indian Naming Ceremony without any Indians? No culture to back it up, no history to explain the reasoning, no elders to show you the tradition. As someone in an online Native Community that I am a part of said: "Can you see the counselors holding a group bar mitzah, handing out yarmulkes, and giving each of the kids a "real Jewish name"? Or maybe they could have given the kid's authentic priest and nun garb, passed out crackers and grape kool-aid for a "communion", and renamed them with names from the Bible while dousing them with holy water?"

Not only is this insulting to Native traditions, but, and this is most important to me, it perpetuates stereotypes and ignorance. It diminishes and belittles Native practices and helps to undermine the legitimacy of our spirituality.

I hate to be so blunt, but ABC..what a load of irresponsible crap.


Blogger Christopher Trottier said...

I can't stand Reality TV. I hope they go the way of the talk show.

2:54 AM  
Blogger themarigoldtrail said...

Uhh..I like reality TV and I still watch talk shows. Does that make me a bad person? :)

10:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Uhh..I like reality TV and I still watch talk shows. Does that make me a bad person? :)

Yes, actually, it does. ;-)

12:47 AM  
Blogger themarigoldtrail said...

lol..the truth hurts. :)

11:17 PM  

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