Wanting to be Indian - Warning Concerning Copyright...

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Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. Printing note: If you do not want to print this page, select pages 2 to the end on the print dialog screen. Mann Library fax: 607 255-0318 www.mannlib.cornell.edu
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78 sinister wisdom #52 — Allies Spring/Summer 1994 79 Neta C. Crawford Diva Girl 1 am afraid of you diva girls so into your selves conferences, book parties, board meetings your famous self you will forget that I exist apart from you your mirror of how good you are to other black women Myke Johnson Wanting to be Indian: Cultural Appropriation in White Feminist Spirituality You can't hear the grass breathe because you're too busy talking about being an Indian holy woman two hundred years ago You sure must stink if you didn't let go 1 Chrystos ow has racism affected white women's search for spiritual empowerment? How has white women's spiritual search adversely affected people of color? How can we work toward a woman- valuing spirituality which is deeply anti-racist? When white women began to be hungry for a woman-valu- ing spirituality, it was easy to look to other cultures and be excited about rituals and stories we saw there. Encouraged by the new age movement, many white feminists began exploring Native American and African spiritualities. We gravitated to their greater emphasis on female deities and positive roles for women. We found a resonance with their greater focus on the earth, their grounding in the interconnectedness of all beings. Because of our misunderstanding of feminism as uniting women across race and culture, it was easy to jump in and claim these treasures as our own lost histories. Many Native and African American women have since in- formed us that this is not how they see it. 2 They have introduced us to the concept of "cultural appropriation," naming as theft the misuse of Native and African cultural symbols and practices by white people. These women of color have asked white women 1 From a poem by Chrystos, "Shame On!" in Dream On, (Vancouver: Press Gang, 1991), pp. 100-01. 2 See references in footnotes throughout article, plus Amoja Thr" "'
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Wanting to be Indian - Warning Concerning Copyright...

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