Big CW: This might contain Death, Racism, and Slurs.
I wasn’t sure where to put this really. But since the topic has been brought up specifically because RDR2 is new and fresh in everyone’s mind.
I want to to bring this up to as many people as I can, because I want people to understand where i’m coming from.
I’m a NB PoC, specifically a native american, myself, of the Kiowa and Comanche Tribes. I even have the little card that says it.
I want to talk about hte modern idea of the ‘cowboy’ in society. Its an identity that has been thoroughly white washed and removed of all the PoC in general that were… which is inherently bad in itself, but even more so is what its representative of today.
In society, the cowboy is a white power fantasy. Its about ‘taming the west’ which means…displacing native americans and committing genocide dressed up in historical and cultural heritage. As something to be proud of.
While our own cultures were forcibly removed from us. Our children taken and put into schools and punished for acting anything other than ‘proper’ ie: white, little white kids form the same era were allowed to run around and play “Indians”
The idea of removing us from our homes, overwriting our culture, displacing us, killing us, starving us via destroying our food sources. Its all tied into and represented by the idea of the ‘cowboy’
It and military outfits from that era might as well be the equivalent to an SS officer’s uniform now days to be perfectly honest. Thats not hyperbole, the identity itself represents that. In attitude, in media, in presence. It represents white people moving forward, and manifest destiny in many ways.
The two’s historical relevance have bled into each other and melded. The idea of ‘taming the west’ was done by ‘cowboys’ and not ‘white settlers mostly urged on by the government and the military.’ The two, in modern society and identity are one in the same. The cowboy represents things like the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Speaking of which, while I was growing up, our people are thought of so little, and our history so thoroughly white washed and scrubbed clean. I was taught it was the ‘battle’ of wounded knee. That the natives started it, but the us military finished it, with minimal casualties, and the act was so great so many medals of honor were given out. (That still haven’t been rescinded)
The big question is how do we change this? Do we discard the identity and heritage entirely? Yes, actually, it should be villified and talked about only in a historical and negative context. The idea that cowboys and ‘indians’ was a thing that was played by children should be seen as disgusting and revolting, not something you encourage.
The reason its so culturally ‘accepted’ is because its been ingrained into modern society through various means, to the point its a cultural heritage identity. Through movies, games, books, music. Its a glorification of that time.
There are very few native voices that can actually reach out and actually push back against it, historically, and even in modern days. Plus with our livelihoods on the line, and barely an ability to garner support for ourselves politically. For the longest time we couldn’t even get sports teams to not use our identity for their branding. We can’t prevent the government and organizations from soiling our land, and important sites even now days… how are we to push back against a ‘heritage identity’?
By doing what I’m doing now, or at least trying to, and bringing it to your attention.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I’ll try and reply to any questions you might have or want to discuss as soon as I can.