Blog Post: 20

When I was visiting Vugestues for Beatrix I heard one of the pedagogs singing '10 Little Indians' in Danish. It made me uncomfortable, but I was going to write it off till she stuck chestnut leaves in their hair like war bonnets and had them do a war whoop. I've been for weeks trying to figure out what to do about it. Then we went to Bon Bon Land, which admittedly is infamous for being in poor taste and they had a 7 continents log flume ride that portrayed North America through the lens of pan-Indianism. On one hand, yay, the indigenous people being the main representation, but ugh, totally ignorant and offensive. To be fair, so was the Asia display and the only reason the South American wasn't is that the culture they were depicting is dead (like Vikings are dead in Denmark, but their descendants live on). Africa was so empty or rather myself being so ignorant that I couldn't really comment on it. 

So I got to thinking and researching. I found out which First Nations actually used war bonnets (that is apparently the technical term for feather headdresses, still sounds kind of like Victorian ladies get ready to go out and make some trouble to me...), which were the Great Plains tribes and I found one whose name substitutes well for 'indiana", the Danish word for Indians. So now every time I hear someone sing this song, I'm going to try to explain why 'Indian' is problematic and encourage them to replace it with "Cheyenne", which I assume can be pronounced "Kajenne" in Danish. Then it's not offensive to do pretend war bonnets and the undulating cry, which my brief research shows was a thing, though if you're doin a real one it should all be in the throat, no hand assistance. I think it's important for kids to be able to play pretend and I really like the idea of representing the US through it's first peoples as long as it's really representing them.

For the ride, which obviously will exist and I can't actually do anything about, I've been trying to think what a tasteful display would be, which pretty much leads me to my impressive ignorance of any of the indigenous people of North America beyond the ones that are native to New England and New York State. 

I think if I was going to do a depiction of modern America, I'd do a 4th of July motif with sparklers, a cookout with hotdogs and hamburgers, families from every major genetic group wearing denim eating apple pie and guns.