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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/12/14

For Only Two Andrew Jackson Greenbacks, Any Diva Can Look Like an Indian War Chief

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Samuel Vargo
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For a paltry sum of $101.31, your girl or BFF can look like a Plains Indian war chief. And never mind that Native American women don't wear headdresses and never have, even during Colonial times and the days of the Indian Wars. Still, all these glitterati celebrity divas who are wearing headdresses in their social media selfies and posed pics - do they know what a headdress is or what it represents? More importantly, do they even care?

There are a number of companies selling headdresses online right now. Competition attracts competition. Do some Internet surfing and check out the feathered goods for yourself. So join the flock of culture vultures! It's the latest fashion craze! And just as the great Oglala Lakota leader and activist Russell Means used to say sometimes when opening speeches to other races and cultures: Welcome to the reservation!

Indian chiefs wearing headdresses are usually painted on canvas or photographed in grainy black and white as old men. Their headdresses weren't slapped together in 20 minutes in some Third World sweatshop. No, each feather came as an award.
Indian chiefs wearing headdresses are usually painted on canvas or photographed in grainy black and white as old men. Their headdresses weren't slapped together in 20 minutes in some Third World sweatshop. No, each feather came as an award.
(Image by koiart71)
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Made, marketed and shipped from Oeboed, Indonesia, by a company named Aureus Arts, it's a headdress that will make your girl look a lot more like a peacock or a male bird-of-paradise than Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, or American Horse, though, with its flaming purple feathers spanning a lengthy 90 centimeters. Compared to the headdresses these great chiefs wore, this one is very loud and flamboyant. Theirs were a bit more stodgy and sedate. (See advertisement here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/169079018/real-purple-chief-indian-headdress-90cm.)

In the Aureus Arts online offering, a pretty brunette (who doesn't look very aboriginal, but maybe she's a mixed-up/mix blood just trying to fit in?) is photographed in front of a large male tiger bearing its fangs while sundry other bits of subliminal brick-a-brac scream and blare in the background like a visual natural-disaster warning. It's clear this item is being marketed for girls and young women, so get yours while supplies last. (See the advertisement here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/169079018/real-purple-chief-indian-headdress-90cm.)

Aureus Arts' offering is a bit pricey -- you can purchase something labeled a "Moonlit Majesty Glow-In-The-Dark Replica Headdress," sold by the Bradford Exchange, for $39.99 in U.S. currency. It comes with murals on its sides, and on these, an alpha wolf stands in the foreground, while its beta brother is howling at the moon in the distance. (See: http://www.bradfordexchange.com/products/113292001_replica-warrior-headdress-with-wolf-art.html?cm_ven=GPS&cm_cat=Google|ProductAds&cm_pla=&cm_ite=113292001&utm_source=GPS&utm_medium=Google|ProductAds&utm_campaign=&utm_term=113292001[sv1].)

There's other stuff going on with the "Moonlit Majesty Glow-In-The-Dark Replica Headdress," too, like snow on the ground and an evergreen tree-lined landscape on the deep horizon. But may I ask a question? Where's the grizzly bear? The New Agers who buy these things like to see wolves and bears looking like they're getting along like long-lost buddies. And it would be really neat for them to see wolves and bears with wings. The crystal twinkie set loves viewing apex-ambush predators flying around, above the treeline.

And does this "Moonlit Majesty Glow-In-The-Dark Replica Headdress" accurately represent Indian history? Hold on a second - Didn't Indian warriors use ambush attacks, and didn't they oftentimes attack at night? Weren't they guerrilla-style warriors who used stealth, surprise and spontaneity to their advantage? Would they have wanted to have the enemy see them arriving, wearing glow-in-the-dark war bonnets?

Holy smokes! Attacking Indians would be like sitting ducks if they used such strategy -- wearing glow-in-the-dark headdresses just doesn't fit in too well in Indian history. Even a lone feather on a very young brave's head would probably be visible from a quarter of a mile on a clear, cloud-free, moonlit night. Sharp-shooting cowboys armed with a long rifles or soldiers with the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment could see a glowing feather from a long way off. Why make such a bull's-eye spectacle? (See ibid: http://www.bradfordexchange.com/products/113292001_replica-warrior-headdress-with-wolf-art.html?cm_ven=GPS&cm_cat=Google|ProductAds&cm_pla=&cm_ite=113292001&utm_source=GPS&utm_medium=Google|ProductAds&utm_campaign=&utm_term=113292001[sv1].)

Another online offering is being marketed by a concern called BUYCOSTUMES and although the BUYCOSTUMES headdress doesn't come with wolves, the moon, a landscape of natural beauty, and a glow-in-the-dark effect (and neither is it a pretty shade of neon lavender), it's still pretty cheap - $36.99 (excluding tax, shipping and handling costs, of course). Made of bright blue and red feathers, it even has fuzzy, cottony things hanging down on both sides. Your lady friend will look like she's grown Cotton Mather sideburns! (See: http://www.buycostumes.com/p/70316/western-authentic-indian-headdress-adult?REF=KNC-BC-PlusBox&gclid=Cj0KEQjw0POdBRCq3arGgYD05pMBEiQAmiUeTnupR2f31zo5b-Yfc4oJjYLipgqcgb00fnPa37UJvYgaAl6m8P8HAQ&kwid=productads-plaid^79636423209-sku^196736@ADL4BUYCOSTUMES-adType^PLA-device^c-adid^49025591295.)

Another company - Halloween Costumes.com - offers a yellow-, white-, black-, and green-feathered monstrosity that flows from your head to your toes, and it costs less than $150.00. However, I can't think of any college or professional teams with all these crazy clashing colors that happen to have an Indian sports mascot or team name. Wow! That's a lot of colors! Does nature indeed have a bird with feathers like this? And this extremely noisy visual display would be too glaring and visually noisy for a zoot suit! (See: https://www.google.com/shopping/product/18275277703491605699?q=indian+headdress&sqi=2&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.70138588,d.aWw,pv.xjs.s.en_US.4GTBzt8SUZ8.O&biw=1440&bih=789&tch=1&ech=1&psi=i3S-U4PaKs2pyASZqYDICw.1404990601267.3&prds=paur:ClkAsKraXxEjmhDWw8z1aqjJyQ3eAWhOYcJFlEVZUk3XzZnwBAX9UlvNgOVMDrH3TLDSXJVT89tdsW4Et6sBtpQJj3L2kb07QbNWCUKGedxJdVyklM8uZCsAbhIZAFPVH72FGFC1xTBEI6EJRKLkkW1mvuxeqg&ei=mnS-U5mqKYSfyASjnYCwCg&ved=0CIIEEKYrMBw.)

And for less than ten bucks, you can order a red, green, white, blue, and yellow thingamajig of some sort - I don't know if I'd actually consider it a headdress, but it's sort'a, kind'a some type of Indian-looking item. From its online photo, it looks like it has two serpentine things that hang down both sides of one's head. Why? Who knows? Maybe they're there to deflect stray foul balls that fly into the stands at Cleveland Indians games. (See: click here.)

From flickr.com/photos/66212741@N08/7623702606/: A short treatise on head wear, ancient and modern (1885): This pamphlet explained what those .hats. signified and represented, which were worn by cowboys and Indians.
From flickr.com/photos/66212741@N08/7623702606/: A short treatise on head wear, ancient and modern (1885): This pamphlet explained what those .hats. signified and represented, which were worn by cowboys and Indians.
(Image by Unknown Owner)
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It's funny how all the photos and drawings of the great chiefs were dark and stark oil portraits and grainy black and white photos of very old men. I've never seen one who looks like a tanned, twenty-something bodybuilder or a hipster gangsta'. (See Emerson Windy's video "Peace Pipe" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2nleTwSIB4.) This hip-hop gangsta' rapper committed a quadruple faux pas [perhaps even more - does anyone have a calculator?] - he's wearing a headdress with bull or goat horns sticking up, he's shirtless, and has some kind of [what looks to be a] Celtic man's dress covering his thighs as he smokes marijuana from a peace pipe (another sacred instrument used in Indian religious ceremonies - and special herbs that aren't mood- or mind-altering are smoked from a peace pipe. Tribes even delegate trusted vanguards to to protect and care for these sacred artifacts). In the video, Emerson Windy sings a rah-rah anthem to promote proliferated use of marijuana while simultaneously advocating a salacious sexual lifestyle. During this wavy weird visual, at times it breaks into a kaleidoscope effect, meshing colors much like one of those thermal-imaging cameras utilized in those "monster chasing" shows. Is Emerson Windy trying to simulate a hallucinogenic narcotics trip? According to Windy's interview on a radio station that features hip-hop and rap, he said after "Peace Pipe" was released in early May that he seriously considered pulling the video from YouTube after it went viral - with more than 14 million views in a matter or only a few days. "Peace Pipe" became notorious and infamous for being wacko, wild and even a cultural racial attack - it is hardly famous for being a "great" hip-hop song. And Windy admits to the radio show host that he was overwhelmed by the negative wave of backlash "Peace Pipe" flooded him with, like a bad PR tsunami. In the Indian corner of social media, AIM In-Ky even circulated an online petition requesting immediate removal of the song and its accompanying video from the Internet. AIM In-Ky also urged its members and supporters to post on Windy's Facebook page their contempt and disapproval of the video and the song. ( See Emerson Windy's radio interview here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn-6RxiQOu4.)


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Samuel Vargo worked as a full-time reporter and editor for more than 20 years at a number of daily newspapers and business journals. He was also an adjunct English professor at colleges and universities in Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi (more...)

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