tlingit   16

coelasquid: castleships: Okay I’m only gonna...
[original post by @castleships]

"Okay I’m only gonna say this once and preface this with the fact that I am Eyak and I probably do not want to hear your opinion on the Pharah skins Raindancer/Thunderbird. This is a really soul baring post so I’m not so sure about people reblogging it, if you do just try to be respective and remember this isn’t a go-ahead to go and appropriate all native cultures.

They’re pretty damn clearly based on Pacific Northwest tribal cultures. The ones I can pick out being Eyak/Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian, but we often get grouped together so that doesn’t surprise me. There are many more, but I don’t claim familiarity with all tribes and I can’t say if their art styles and myths were used.

For your comparison a little sample of the tribe’s artistic styles just to get the point across:

[two images, one of traditional art, the other of the Overwatch characters ]

And I really have to get something off my chest people. I don’t have a problem with these skins, in fact I adore them. Please just chill with me for a second while I explain.

The biggest issue I see here is people (who usually arn’t ndn, let alone from pac nw tribes) yelling about cultural appropriation. Which good! I’m glad people are on guard for it! But it’s entirely possible that Pharah’s father was Eyak/Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian or from another closely related Pacific Northwest tribe, so we can’t really call that yet. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was.

Most importantly, speaking as an Eyak. Which is all I can do despite Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian being so closely related, our tribe’s relationship with cultural appropriation is uh, not exactly the norm.

The last Eyak fluent speaker died in 2008, her name was Chief Marie Smith Jones and she was also the last full-blooded Eyak on Earth. The very last. Please appropriate Eyak culture. It’s the only way it’s going to survive. There’s less than 500 of us remaining, and we’re scattered more and more every year. Families I grew up with in Alaska converted to Catholicism. The military took my family across the globe and left us an entire continent away. The language I learned at the dinner table in 1998 now almost exclusively exists on those cassette tapes my white father recorded that night and in reconstructive attempts from a French academic that studied our language from halfway across the globe.

It sucks shit guys, it really does.

When I first saw the Thunderbird skin I cried, I cried for an hour. Because Overwatch is huge. It will live on for years if not decades. And there’s Pharah with her hair in braids I haven’t seen my mother wear in over a decade. Wearing the colors that remind me of a home I no longer have. Embodying a mythic figure that I trusted to protect me during Y2K and sought out constellations in the sky for.

So before you spew vitriol about how racist it is that they did that. Just kind of chill out and think about different perspectives for a moment. If you really want to help us? Consider taking a poke about http://www.eyakpeople.com/ and taking a look at our language revitalization project! It’s pretty fun and you could even learn a language out of it.

AwA’ahdah (Thank You)"

[the extension by @coelasquid via reblog]

"I just wanted to reblog this because it’s something I think about a lot in terms of how viewing cultural appropriation in a very black and white binary has the end result of making white supremacy stronger than ever. By treating different arts and cultures like that plastic-wrapped grandma furniture no one’s allowed to sit on because it needs to remain perfectly preserved, white culture and art becomes the only one people feel as though they can safely engage in. I absolutely know this is done from the very conscientious place of trying to prevent the dominant culture from taking things they like and running off with them like Jack Skellington, but when it’s taken in extremely pass/fail terms it makes it very difficult for people to celebrate their OWN cultures.

Of course the best answer is “let people tell their own stories and make their own art” but I have been told by several people from a number of different backgrounds that this hostility toward anything resembling cultural exchange by audiences assuming everyone behind the scenes is white makes them afraid to engage in their OWN culture in any public way for fear of being told they’re getting it wrong. I see this happen fairly regularly in a number of creative fields, television, fashion, art, even cosplay. The number of times I see cosplayers accused of “lying about their race” when they try to dress up like a character who IS supposed to be the same background as them every con season is staggering.

This is very anecdotal but just to look at it from another perspective, I personally am not native but I’m from a very Cree community. A significant number of my friends growing up were native and Métis, our school offered Cree as a second language, we had a Cree choir, Native studies was a mandatory class to get a diploma from our school division. As far back as 5th grade, traditional craftwork was a part of social studies when we were learning about different native nations across Canada. This included beadwork, like looms and embroidery on moccasins. I’m sure the intent was probably to make historically accurate designs, but being 11 year olds we all realized pretty quick it was like pixel art and we could write words and make little pictures, and everyone was working on their beading looms making patterns they designed themselves for months after the unit that required it ended. This was a group of kids, native and non-native alike, engaging in something they were taught in an educational context long after they were required to because they found a way to enjoy it in a contemporary manner that made it fun for them. That kind of thing was encouraged from us a lot, I remember a juried art show for our school division actively encouraging all of the students to focus more on native art and techniques if they planned on entering.

I remember experiencing a bit of a culture shock when I moved out of Northern Canada for the first time and experienced a white friend criticizing a Haida-inspired piece we saw in the hall at our art school for not being “accurate enough”. I was extremely confused because as, a 17 year old raised in Northern Canada my entire life, I’d never experienced that kind of criticism of engaging with native art in a modern, contemporary way before. I just kept thinking “You have no idea who made this! How do you expect modern Native people to enjoy making their own art if you’re going to criticize it for not being held up to a textbook standard?”

Obviously now that I’m more worldly and educated in what society is like outside of Northern Canada I understand the nuance of the situation and the different perspectives that people have informed by their own experiences, but It’s also important to remember that if you turn white culture into the only one people feel allowed to engage with in a fun contemporary manner, it will always remain dominant. This is of course not to say “cultural appropriation is made up, do whatever you want” or anything like that, just that it’s a very multi-dimensional issue to consider."
appropriation  culture  tumblr  overwatch  videogames  games  gaming  nativeamericans  pacificnorthwestnatives  via:vruba  eyak  tlingit  haida  tsimshian  complexity  whiteness  whitesupremacy 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Bill making Native languages 'official' is passed by House committee | Legislature | ADN.com
The measure is largely symbolic -- it wouldn't require that anything be said or written in any language other than English -- but its approval Tuesday at the State Affairs Committee was loudly cheered by a room packed with speakers of Tlingit and other Native languages.

"This bill is restorative justice, a step in the right direction," said Tlingit speaker X'unei Lance Twitchell, a professor of Native languages at the University of Alaska Southeast. "By elevating Alaska Native languages at the highest level, you will help us combat addiction, depression, suicide, violent crimes and high school dropout rates. You will create a better Alaska by overcoming outdated notions that we are inferior. Have courage and vote yes now and on the floor. We will share with you the joy of overcoming the worst of times."
Alaska  Language-policy  Tlingit 
april 2014 by quant18
New Tlingit encyclopedia baffling to scholars, speakers | KCAW
"The massive work by New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert is extraordinarily detailed, and the product of years of effort.

The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers."
language  race  racism  tlingit  books  articles  via:itrasbiel  via:ignatz 
february 2012 by Vaguery
New Tlingit encyclopedia baffling to scholars, speakers | KCAW
"The massive work by New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert is extraordinarily detailed, and the product of years of effort.

The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers."
language  race  racism  tlingit  books  articles  via:itrasbiel 
february 2012 by ignatz
New Tlingit encyclopedia baffling to scholars, speakers | KCAW
"The massive work by New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert is extraordinarily detailed, and the product of years of effort.

The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers."
language  race  racism  tlingit  books  articles 
february 2012 by itrasbiel
Project MUSE - The American Indian Quarterly - Cultures in Collision: Cosmology, Jurisprudence, and Religion in Tlingit Territory
Cultures in Collision:Cosmology, Jurisprudence, and Religion in Tlingit Territory BY Caskey Russell is an assistant professor in English and American Indian studies at the University of Wyoming. Originally from Washington State, he earned his PhD from the University of Oregon in 2001. He is an enrolled member of the Tlingit Indian tribe of Alaska.

This article examines the cultural conflicts between Southeast Alaska's Tlingit Indians and Europeans. Though these three cultural systems (cosmology, jurisprudence, religion) are not mutually exclusive, this article examines each of them in turn and contextualizes them by using three interrelated historical events: first contact, the 1867 purchase of Alaska and its aftermath, and the 1912 burning of totems in the Tlingit village of Kake. The analysis of these historical events helps illuminate current debates about contemporary Tlingit culture and tradition.
nativeamerican  NATIVE  HISTORY  Tlingit  religion  cosmology  first  contact  English  2810  conflict  Manifest  Destiny  Discovery  Indian  law  English  2810  American  Lit  &  Experience  link 
february 2011 by nynate17
Language Camp - Juneau Empire
Chester is one of about a dozen attendees at a Tlingit language immersion retreat, held over Labor Day weekend at the Eagle River United Methodist Camp. He and others from Juneau and other Southeast Alaska communities have come to speak, hear and learn about the Tlingit language. This retreat isn't the first of its kind, but past gatherings of this nature have been funded and sponsored by organizations. These Tlingit speakers and learners are here on their own dime, simply because of their passion for the language.
Tlingit  Language-revival  Alaska 
september 2010 by quant18
Ketchikan Indian Community - Programs - CHAS - Language
KIC Language Program recognizes that our languages are essential to both our traditional and contemporary cultures, as well as our identity as tribal members. We work in partnership with our elders, educators, and other cultural organizations to perpetuate the indigenous languages of our region for the benefit of all tribal members.
Language-revival  Tlingit  Haida  Tsimshian 
april 2010 by quant18

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