Bringing Cultural Sensitivity to Halloween

Tomorrow, many of us will be filling up candy bowls, lighting jack-o-lanterns and getting dressed up in Halloween costumes. As you watch various ghouls, goblins, witches and superheroes grace your doorstep looking for candy, consider the other costume choices that are out there, and how they affect certain populations. The first population that comes to mind for us: Indian.

BuzzFeed brought this concept to life in this video titled, “Native Americans Try on ‘Indian’ Costumes.” We encourage you to watch this video and listen carefully to the message: it’s not OK and it never will be. Native Americans place deep meaning in their ceremonial dress, with each and every bead holding significance. To demote that cultural significance to a Halloween costume is truly sad.

Native Americans Try On “Indian” Costumes

Posted by BuzzFeed Video on Saturday, October 17, 2015

Still widely available, and unfortunately, widely purchased, are the various caricatures of Native American dress for Halloween costumes. While strides have been made with reducing Native American mascots, there’s still work to be done – we’re surrounded by misunderstandings and stereotypes of our culture. And we’re not alone. Browsing the typical costume aisle these days, you have your choice of things like, “Native American Maiden Costume” and “Child Asian Princess Costume.”

You very likely know someone who is Native American or Asian. Would you wear one of those costumes to their home? The answer is no, and this is a good standard when considering Halloween costumes.

Help us be heard and refuse to purchase “Native American” costumes. Educate those that do purchase them. End the caricatures of the Native American culture.

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