June 25, 2011

Pride Parade - Playing Indian?

Hello blog friends!

This is just a quick post to let you all know of a recent situation that occurred in Santa Fe -

Today was the annual Santa Fe Pride Parade, and a few of my friends attended and were shocked to find 'white boys' playing 'Indian.' This is particularly shocking because the whole point of Pride Parade is, as my friend states below, 'to abolish hate and stereotypes in order to celebrate equality, difference, diversity and tolerance.'

Since this blog focuses on issues related to representation, and encourages people to think 'beyond buckskin', I wanted to post the letter that my friend sent earlier today.

UPDATE: Please click here to add your name to another letter written in response to the presence of the "Cowboys and Indians" parade float.

(This is not Santa Fe's Parade, this was Miami Pride Parade 2010 - is 'Playing Indian' an acceptable Pride Parade thing? Photo by Jessica R. Metcalfe)

(Santa Fe Pride Parade 2011. Playin Indian photo by Joslyn Baker, Soluna Studio, Commercial Photography)

Hi All,

I attended the Santa Fe Pride parade in the railyard this morning and was shocked with what was included in the parade - a truck load of white boys playing indian. I approached the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance and asked them to take responsibility and to address it immediately and publicly since they had the platform. The Vice-president blew me off so I waited to hear the speeches by all political constituents expressing Santa Fe's tolerance of all. Upon discussing the "situation" with the president, she tried to dismiss it but I was somewhat relentless and told her her organization needs to take responsibility. I left.

I just emailed them (should you like to support, their email is President Dona Hatch donahatch@msn.com and Vice- Paul Collom pcboy28@gmail.com)

Here is the letter;

June 25, 2011

Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance
Santa Fe Pride
P.O. Box 8640
Santa Fe, NM 87504

Dear Ms. Hatch and Mr. Collom,

I am following up on a conversation I had with both of you this afternoon at the Santa Fe Pride festivities following the welcoming speech by Ms. Hatch and dignitaries and alliances from the city of Santa Fe. I approached both of you regarding the inclusion of an extreme problematic situation – the “Cowboy and Indian” float sponsored by the group representing New Mexico Film (?). The “float” positioned an embedded racist attitude towards Native Americans through the imaginary stereotypes and constructions created through colonization that continue to exist today. By allowing this organization to parade blatant racism is unacceptable, especially for a community organization such as the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance and Santa Fe Pride who’s work is to abolish hate and stereotypes in order to celebrate equality, difference, diversity and tolerance. The “white boys” dressed in souvenir store headdresses with painted bodies standing around a plastic teepee mock the First Peoples of this Nation. Their redfacing and drag placed an appalling presence in the parade, which incited racial gestures by parade bystanders, who whooped and hollered derogatory sounds perpetuating a persistent public ignorance. This behavior by the “community” and the organizations involved welcome intolerance to continue and it is extremely offensive and irresponsible.

Upon my conversation with both of you and within your position, I asked that you make a public apology, to make it right, at the moment. There are no excuses for this hatred to exist and be perpetuated in a public celebration of diversity. Pride is respect and acceptance, however, it was a sad event I witnessed and the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance has disrespected, offended and diminished an entire race and their culture today by allowing this to happen. Shame on you.


Ryan Rice
Mohawk Nation,
Santa Fe Resident


  1. No Playing Indian is not ok but honoring two spirits is acceptable I am Ojibwe and I believe in the historical value of being Native I would be upset if there were a bunch of white people Playing indian and not knowing the culture behind our traditions and the like but tolerance works both ways I have been offended by people dressing up as indians on halloween and the like but there comes a time when You have to learn tolerance in all its places no I do not agree with playing dress up and dishonoring Natives in any way but I do agree with honoring our ways and our people so it would depend on what they were trying to represent with what they were doing

  2. Well...ALL you folks who post here need to research your facts, rather then just assume a grand standing purveyor of Propaganda is providing impartial truths! The person who wrote the letter you support is a racist himself. Listing "White Boys" as playing Indians, when he was even told of their Native American heritage. That fact didnt fit his agenda, so he skewed the truth to get you all on board. The two main people on the float both have deep native American roots! If the author wanted HIS interpretation of "his" people to be exhibited, then maybe HE should have gotten involved and joined with others in celebrating diverse backgrounds and cultures coming together under the gay and lesbian community! Shame on all of you for forming opinions based on non-truths and slanted views. The author is guilty of the same racism he accuses the HRA and the men on the float of!

  3. This is ridiculous, I am Ojibwe i am queer and I am outraged, Uncle Tomahawk!