Lately I've had my fair share of run-ins with the hipsters and hippies who appropriate Native culture in various ways, as well as the hippie/hipster "culture" at large, and have become increasingly annoyed at their depiction/co-option of my ethnicity as a First Nations person.
I know my parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles have had to deal with this in their time and it's certainly not a new thing –but it's 2010 and not only does it still continue strongly to this day – it's taken some interesting turns down the erasure of true origins road. This isn't a hate letter, or reverse racism (as if there were such a thing!). It's also not an attempt to discourage you from finding out more about Native people – and in fact I strongly ENCOURAGE you to do some actual research and knowledge seeking so you might get our culture right and think twice about things like permission and respect before you act on your appropriation.
When people talk about Madonna as a symbol of female empowerment, I have to ask, "Empowering to whom?" Certainly not to the black and brown people populating her Sex book, her videos, or her film Truth or Dare. It is through this lens of Madonna's messy racial and sexual politics that I viewed her adoption of a child from Malawi three years ago, and her recent, thus-far-unsuccessful effort to adopt a second child there.