Illustration about Native American boys who have to cut off their braids to follow school dress codes.
And black people have the same issue when it comes to finding jobs/careers.
^^^^ yes but it ain’t about us right now
this is actually really important and pardon me for doing the cliche reblogging with a caption thing but i want to talk about braids and just how significant they are
to native people (and of course i can’t talk about every native tribe as there are very specific sects and i only really am coming from the perspective of seneca) hair is extremely important as it represents the walking of the Sacred Path as the physical extension of thought and self, and holy men, women and two-spirits are identified through specific styles of dress and even if not holy, the hair shows what a person has participated in, their feelings, their age, whether they are married or not, whether they are in mourning and their tribe
my grandfather is seneca and he had to remove his braids at a very young age and it was an act of assimilation because his mother knew they had to try to be white in order to proceed and it’s a tool of oppression and humiliation to cut (or force to cut) a native american person’s hair for both religious and cultural preservationist reasons
my mom is half-seneca and her choice for me to not cut my hair until i was 13 and for it to be worn in traditional manner was because of this and when i cut my hair then, i cut it off at the base of my head for also this reason; i was diagnosed with depression and was going through therapy, i wanted my hair and my treatment to signify that i was becoming a new, better person– eventually i started dying my hair but that is for separate reasons of colour symbolism and it’s still an important thing to me
please do not invalidate the struggles of other POC, i understand that this happens and it’s horrific to not be able to wear your natural hair, these are also children whose culture and religion is being stripped away from them and they can’t even participate in something so important within their culture simply because of white patriarchal ideas of masculinity
American Indian children (especially plains ndns) were forced to attend boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their own language and had to cut off their hair and choose a “white” name from the bible. If you refused, the teacher would often ridicule you by ignoring you anytime you attempted to speak or participate in class, to the point of saying offensive, false things about your people to rile you up enough that you gave in and picked a white name so the teacher would let you speak and tell the truth. (This is shown in bury my heart at wounded knee). In fact, it is hard to trace records before the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries bc the govt considered the way native peoples often have several different names that they go by in different context and by different people to be too annoying to record them in a census, another reason they were forced to choose white names.
Being oppressed for your natural hair and the names you choose is a real thing other poc face and it’s wrong and it’s racist, but this specific post is about what it means to American Indians, and for them it was not only racist stereotyping, but forced assimilation and genocide of their cultures.
dude holy shit being ridiculed for not assimilating was the least of your worries in a residential school. i know people who were forced to kneel on sharp rocks in a corner for speaking a single word in their native language
some fun facts abt residential schools:
• people who went to residential schools were abused physically, sexually, verbally, and emotionally. my mushum went through all of these until he turned 18 and was allowed to leave
• boys were not allowed to wear their braids. period. the point of the residential schools was to ‘kill the indian in the child’ and you can google literal before-and-after images of students that the schools would distribute as a source of PRIDE
• the government would experiment on the students, starving them to see how long they could go without food before it seriously affected them. officially, over 6,000 native children died in residential schools. our government admits the number was likely much higher
• residential schools were literally hitler’s source of inspiration for concentration camps during world war II
• where im working right now, there are people in their 30s who were forced to attend residential schools
• the last residential school closed in 1996, one year after i was born, two hours away from where i live, twenty minutes from my family’s reserve
native assimilation has been the goal from the very start
Residential schools may have officially been shut down, but native kids are still disproportionately removed from their homes and while ICWA (the Indian Child Welfare Act) was designed with the intent of ensuring they’re still placed within their community, ICWA was just recently overturned in the courts, which means that these children are being overwhelmingly placed with white families. This hasn’t stopped. They’ve just gotten less overt about it.
found @ 21 likes ON 2019-10-28 14:49:59 BY ME.ME