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Offline educatedindian

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Florida, the Plastic Indian Defense Fund, & th
« on: October 10, 2005, 07:02:55 pm »
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 20:19:43 -0000
Subject: [nafps_again] Florida, the Plastic Indian Defense Fund, & the Casio Tribe

Circle, The   1/31/1995   V.16; N.1   p. 5
Since 1993, I have written about variousindigenous concerns in the state of Florida, Mercury poisoning in the Everglades, home of the traditional Seminole people, the dangers of Florida wannabees, the
fights for burial site protection, the mascot issue at Florida State University. These issue are both serious in nature, and sometimes very intense in the struggle. Fighting these battles proves not only
costly in monetary terms, but also emotionally, psychologically and physically. Through it all, the traditional people and movement veterans that I've met have taught me one thing: No matter how
devastating, no matter how disgusted you get, no matter how bad you want to give up and walk away, no matter how bad you want to go into "mass murder" mode out of sheer frustration, you always have to keep a sense of humor. So, I decided to depart from my usual serious scribblings and share with you some of the more humorous things that those of us down here in the Siberia of civil rights have encountered.
First, let me give you a brief description of what the people down here in the Sunshine State are like as a general rule. With the exception of the Greater Miami, Ft. Lauderdale area, where the constant influx of "inner tube" people have landed toprovide some cultural diversity, Florida is filled with some of the most racist people this side of South Dakota and Oklahoma. Never in my life have I seen so many culturally uneducated, bigoted, arrogant, beer-swilling, narrow-minded, tobacco-chawing, butt-scratching, poster children for inbreeding. These folks will burn crosses, and people like Christopher Wilson, but you can almost bet that nearly everyone of them has "...a Chairokeeee granma." Yup, they'll tell you, with that ever-present Deliverance Drawl, " had the papers, but they all burnt up in the big fire." We have just assumed that their Cherokee ancestors must have lived near Chicago or San Francisco.

This mindset feeds into the stereotypical images that we fight so hand against. Down here, all people know about Indian is that "...Injuns sell cigarettes, have bingo, give pow wows where they
dress up and dance, and don't pay taxes." Trying to talk to these people about "real" Indian concerns is like trying to reason with a mother alligator on the nest. And when these people with their "Deep South" mentality get into government (and there are many), well, getting things accomplished is like spitting into a hurricane.
(Although the politician folks will also joyously tell you that they sympathize because of their "Cherokee ancestry.")
If dealing with these single-chromosome giants from the bottom of the gene pool isn't bad enough, you have the unending, ever present, ever hovering, ever greedy "Waa-Naa-Be" tribes, which are as abundant as the Palmetto bugs. They do, however, provide the most humor and best jokes. They take themselves VERY seriously, which is more than I can ever do, except that they attempt to get into things that they shouldn't be involved in, like burial issues and ceremonies. The truly sad thing about these yahoos is that those few people of conscience, who could possibly provide some much needed support for the real issue, are taken in by these scam artists and hucksters, with their faux feathers and face paint, which makes it very
difficult to reroute them down the right path. After all, these people would much rather deal with folks that let them "dress up and play Indian" than those of us who tell them how insulting their dress
and behavior is to traditional peoples.
Let's star with some of our more popular wannabees. We have just about every kind of Eagle, Bear and Wolf that you can imagine. They
are standing, running, sitting, soaring, screaming, hollering, rolling, lonely, clumsy, and every other adjective conceivable. They are "Indian leaders," "Indian educators," "cultural saviors," and, naturally, they are ALL "traditional medicine men and women." We have the Inter-Tribal medicine men selling "sacred medicine arrows,"
and "Creek chiefs" who go to schools and tell little children that "it takes a year to make a bow and arrow." (There would have been a hell of a lot more starving Indians if that were the case!)

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Florida, the Plastic Indian Defense Fund, &
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2005, 07:05:37 pm »
Pt 2
We have traditional storytellers and shamans that don't speak a word of an indigenous language. We have not one, but two great-great grandsons of Geranium, although the Geronimo family says that they are not missing anyone. We even have people from non-existent tribes such as "Mingus Susquehaba, Mound Builder, and Allegheny Sioux."
Heck, we even know somebody that walked into a museum and proclaimed that he was full-blooded Calusa! Neat trick, huh? As a matter of fact, we have complained so much about plastic Indians that one pseudo-Indian group has even started the "Plastic Indian Defense Fund." Yes, they intend to sue us for our Plastic Medicine list. What could their defense possibly be? "We are fakes and we know it?" or "We are frauds that steal people's money, so what?" or maybe "We are not really Indians, so what!" (I was going to send them a
contribution of laminated Monopoly money...plastic money for plastic Indians). Hell, we even have a Princess Velveeta. Get it? Plastic Indian, plastic cheese.
Then, of course, we have the infamous pow wow circuit. Granted, there are a few legitimate pow wows in the state, held by the Miccosukees,
the non-traditional Seminoles and the American Indian Association, but if you happen into one of the others beware! You will find all white dancers, women in Grass Dance regalia, people with those
old '60s feather roach clips hanging in their hair (which actually looks kind of painful), and ladies dressed in purple suede and feathers. (What kind of birds do you get purple feathers from, anyway?) You can find medicine bags the size of cattle feeders, and shamans selling weekend seminars where you too can learn to be a shaman and healer for around $1,200. There are also videos available, if you don't have time to spend the weekend away from home. And look will be saged to death. People will break out their cooking sage and blow it in your face; they will sage the tents, the air, the trees, the outhouses and piles of dog poop.
The latest craze down here is the sale of that most cherished and holy of objects, the dream catcher. Crystal and metallic beats, glitter string, pink, purple, neon green, silk, satin, lace, stuffed, gaudy dyed feathers and color-tinted plastic. They can be small enough for earrings or big enough to take up an entire wall of your house. Some people even collect them as though they were stamps. I guess, since dream catchers are so sacred, that the more you have the more sacred you become.
It's the same thing with certain types of jewelry, with chokers at the top of the list, especially for men. You see, every "warrior" MUST have at least one sacred choker. We have been heard that "you
are not a warrior unless you have one." Don't you know that a self-respecting warrior wouldn't be caught deal without his holiest of attire, the five-string choker. Somebody gave one of these
monstrosities to one of our board members. It was stiff as starched shorts and long enough to be a belt for a very large man. We figured that if he ever wore it he would probably have hanged himself, so it was added to the box of other strange and bizarre things that people have given us.
Moving on, we now enter the world of the ceremonies. Yes, boys and girls, if you want to participate in an "Indian Ceremony," Florida is
the place to come. There are Full Moon ceremonies where the host breaks into a rendition of "Amazing Grace" in the middle of everything. There are New Moon ceremonies where you sit with store-
bought cornmeal between your fingers to "collect your negativity." (Careful not to get it on your neighbor, or you will give them YOUR negativity.) Women playing the drum, drumsticks that look like Irish shalaylees, and "traditional sacred songs" set to Walt Disney animated movie music. We've seen sweat lodges big enough to park a truck in, smudgings down with cooking sage, and you can even take classes on the west coast that will allow you to become a "shape shifter." (One dissatisfied customer called us because he was told that he would be able to turn himself into a bird. He broke his leg jumping off his garage.) We have "traditional" Lakota medicine men and women who don't know their waste from their wanblee and we've seen Sun Dances where they do the Hora. Ah yes, Dances with Wolves strikes again.

Lot's not forget our "traditional Indian names." No Indian is complete without one, you know! You can get them via a "naming ceremony" or through a "vision," and the more Harlequin Romance-ish
it is, the more Indian you must be. Sees Far Woman, Piercing Eyes, Bo Bo Jumping Eagle, Three Black Feathers, Three Eagle Cloud, and Tonka
Cloud Walker. Morgan Eagle Bear, Princess Chi Kee, Soaring Paws & Hooves, and more Lone Wolves than you can count. Early Spring, Swamp
Owl, Sawgrass and Crow's Wolf. There are eagles involved in all sorts of activities, yapping canines, Snake Chiefs, and all kinds of bird wings except chickens of course. Oh, and yes, there are more "chiefs" than there are Indian Nations. We all decided that we needed Indian names too. One night we sat around making them up with great
hilarity. The girl who dresses up like a nun at our moscot protests was going to be Princess Black Robe, and one of our directors chose Chief Waa-Naa-Be Slayer. There were others, but they are not really appropriate to print here.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Florida, the Plastic Indian Defense Fund, &
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2005, 07:08:15 pm »
Pt 3
And let's not forget the various legends and stories that ran rampant here. One of the more recent ones that was brought to us revolved around a supposed "artifact" that was dredged up out of some canal in New Port Richey. This story is about the "Casio" people of New Port Richey about 1,200 years ago. (I guess the Japanese electronics firm
had a lost tribe in Florida. They must have been the "synthesizer people.") As it goes, the Casio people sacrificed their captives on a rock altar. They captured a young brother and sister. One of the tribe decided that the sister would look better in his teepee than with her heart cut out, so she and her brother were saved. The sister had a vision which warned if the Casio kept sacrificing people, a big storm would come and wash them all away. As long as the sister lived, there were no more sacrifices. When she died, they started up their old ways and the big storm came and washed them all away, including their sacrificial altar. The main flaw in their story is the big storm that these fools are trying to connect with is the storm of
1927! I think that the Seminoles would have known about these people and their sacrificial ways; however, they don't.
Recently, we were in the area where this little piece of history took place, and Bobbie Billie of the Traditional Seminole Nation accompanied us to see the "altar." After listening to this "legend" as related to us by "Chief Standing Bear of the Bear Clan," - the "Inter-tribal historian" who brought it to our attention-Bobbie politely smiled and walked away...while we contained our laugher until our of earshot. Granted, this "sacrificial rock" did have two faces carved on it, could be pre-Columbian or it could be an untalented child with a chisel. The "blood-letting hole" in the top looks more like an old grinding hole, or possibly the result of erosion from the water. Either way, it means nothing to Bobbie or his people, nor does it mean anything to anybody else that we checked with, so it was gladly discounted as a very large rock that smelled as bad as the people promoting it.

Yes, the prostitution of Indian culture is alive and well and flourishing in Florida. And I thought California was bad! If the Klan doesn't get you, the self-proclaimed Cherokees will. It's big business down here...and sometimes, so damned funny it's hard to contain yourself. I've often thought about putting together a stand-up comedy routine, but the only place it would be appreciated is where "real" Indians are located. Hey, maybe I'll take it on the road! Ah yes, the Sunshine State...where the Indians come to watch the white people dance.