Don’t support “Tribal Tuesday”


Costume shops offer stereotypical “Indian” costumes for men, woman, and children. This practice is condemned by Native Americans for racism and perpetuating a false image of what being Native American means.

The student council designated tomorrow September 24th, “Tribal Tuesday.” This theme is racist at its core. Students should not appropriate Native American culture by dressing up as “Indians,” and the administration should not have approved this theme.

If you Google search “Indian costume”, images of scantily clad women in fringe and men in war bonnets pop up. The Native American community (as they prefer to be called) is not happy about this and it’s not hard to see why. They are represented as inaccurately dressed sex objects or stereotyped as Tonto-esque characters.

There are actually many different varieties of dress for the many thousands of tribes that live and have lived in America. The word “Tribal,” as in “Tribal Tuesday,” is vague and offensive to these tribes. Saying “tribal” groups all Native Americans together despite their many differences. The alliteration is cute, but the message of the day remains offensive.

Native American culture is not a costume or theme. It is their history, their ancestry. Many objects such as headdresses have spiritual meaning to Native Americans and seeing people wear them as costumes is hurtful to those who earned the feathers and the right to wear a war bonnet. Cowboys and the Westward Expansion were the direct cause of the genocide of Native Americans in the 1800s. Wars were waged to take land tribes had lived on since before Columbus was born. Grouping cowboys and Native Americans together for a homecoming theme is ignorant when there is such a bloody history between the two.

We should respect all races when we choose our homecoming theme. “Tribal Tuesday” teaches people that racism is okay, because it’s school sanctioned. It is not.The theme is racist. Dressing up in stereotypical clothes of a race is racist and belittling. We should not use this theme or any theme like it that  involves dressing up as a race or ethnic community, e.g. “Ghetto Day” from last year.

The Native American community has spoken and written on this topic, telling society that appropriation offends them. We need to listen- we owe all cultures respect. We don’t have “Arab Day” or “White Day’ and we shouldn’t have what is essentially ‘Indian Day.” Join me in not dressing up as a Native American tomorrow, to show solidarity and support of the Native American community.

21 Responses to “Don’t support “Tribal Tuesday””
  1. Thelonius says:

    The false portrayal of righteous indignation falls from this article like cobwebs from a dusty book. To categorize a group of hardworking student councilmen as “racist to the core” is simpleminded and quite frankly ignorant. Quit being a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian and write something productive.

  2. Former Student says:

    This cultural appropriation is particularly disappointing from a school that so often claims the title ‘diverse’.

  3. Student at Westside says:

    I think that this is way over the top, like seriously? Its just a fun dress up day. Stop killing everyone’s joy.

  4. J says:

    How do you think the cowboys feel? We are stereotyping an entire as outlaws! Show some respect people!

  5. Rose says:

    I only believe it’s a bit of fun. I don’t believe any of those kids meant it in a racist light

  6. Fact Checker says:

    Last year’s “New York” themed homecoming had no “Ghetto Day.” You might have been referring to Hip Hop Thursday, but you can’t be racist towards a genre of music.

    Please get your facts right before publishing an article directing hate at the student leaders of your school.

  7. Thelonius says:

    On another note, this article reads something like a fourth grade American history lesson. Don’t insult our intelligence. We know what a headdress is. Learn how to write effectively before you go on a grandiloquent tirade against those in your student body whom have chosen to be leaders and take initiative.

  8. Luke says:

    I think its all for fun but it should be called wild west or natives and westerners!

  9. Anonymous says:

    First of all, there is no need to insult the writer of the article for how she wrote it, that’s just a low blow and completely unnecessary. It doesn’t make people pay attention to your point, it makes you seem immature. Second of all, people are allowed to have different points of view, and I don’t understand why we can’t just accept that, without attacking people. If you notice, the author of the article made no attempt to stop “Tribal Tuesday” from happing, or to stop anyone from participating. The point of the school newspaper is to express opinions of the student body and this is one of them, people should be able to express their opinions without feeling under attack.

  10. My Take says:

    I’ll start off by saying that yes, I can see how this is offensive, but yes, I also see this as a bit of an overreaction.

    I don’t think anybody intended on this being rascist when they thought of it or approved it. It’s based off of a child’s game. Not some cult trying to demolish an entire race. We are given the option dress up as either a cowboy or a a Native American, which as I recall, we weren’t given the chance to last year. They were separate days, which then, yes, was a little too much. Not all of us are going to choose to dress up as a Native American. We aren’t looking at the fact that cowboys did not just kill native Americans. There was more history behind them. The student body has a choice here, and can choose not to dress up in offensive outfits, which is being overlooked.

    Also, I would like it point out that those outfits that you googled are oversexualized women’s Halloween costumes, which is not partaking to the race in particularly, but sexism itself, and I doubt that we are going to see anyone dressing in said outfits.

    My last point is that it’s a high school homecoming theme. It’s not like we are required to dress up or participate. In the future, when we look back, we are not going to sit there in shame at the student body. We will most likely forget it happened. It’s an event that was created in innocence to celebrate homecoming, and has been turned into some rascist outrage.

  11. My Take says:

    Let’s not ruin the entire week of fun because of one day that not many people will dress up for.

  12. Westside Student says:

    I, for one, completely agree with you. No matter how lighthearted or fun it was intended to be, it’s still a shameful degradation of another culture and is completely inappropriate. I’m sure the Student Council certainly didn’t mean to be racist, but that cannot change the fact that that theme IS racist.

    On another note, I don’t believe this article was directing “hate” at the student leaders. It was expressing disapproval for the theme. That is not the same thing. (This article was written effectively, and if you knew what a headdress was you would know about the cultural significance it holds and why it is not okay to use it as a fun costume hat.)

  13. Scott Mann says:

    I, for one, think it quite racist to have such a thing as “tribal Tuesday”. The images that I suspect will be portrayed will not be representative of the peace loving and gracious communities that pre-date colonization of the Americas.

  14. Current Student says:

    To me, cowboys and indians translates to a lifestyle and race. I hear people saying, “Oh, we are highschoolers. It’s not like we are trying to be racist. We know better.”. I’m not saying that I don’t trust many of our smart students to make the right choice, but there are so many that are going to prance around, do a “rain dance”, do that slap mouth call (does that have a name?), and end up being extremely offensive. The intention is for people to have fun, BUT I think that they need to be careful. I don’t see how this is very different from Nazis and Jews to be honest. You are calling out a lifestyle and a race in both. Obviously, the second will appear more racist to many, but why? What is the difference. Sure, kids played cowboys and indians as kids, but that is because we taught them to. They don’t understand the full extent of their actions. We are highschoolers. We know better. Our school has such a diverse student body. To think that this would NOT offend anyone is just plain ignorant.

  15. Common Sense says:

    1. Google search literally any costume (or topic) and scantily clad women will pop up.
    2. The school has a dress code for a reason.
    3. “Tribal” is just a title. Thinking that it has any offensive meaning is idiotic and barely tangential as an argument.
    4. The individual “Native American” and “Cowboy” themes have always been grouped together. Homecoming isn’t the first to group them together, so why attack them for it? It’s like saying the movie “Cowboys and Aliens” is extremely disrespectful to both cowboys and aliens because they depict cowboys and aliens killing each other in the movie.
    5. “‘Tribal Tuesday’ teaches people that racism is okay” is an ignorant statement in itself. Seriously, who in our multi-culturally diverse school is going to think that racism is okay. This statement seriously insults the intelligence of everyone in the school.
    6. It’s not like even 10% of the school are even going to dress up tomorrow.
    At the end of the day, this article holds no weight and will only receive backlash. Why? Because this event is completely harmless. I don’t see groups of American Indians, or races these events relate to, protesting in front of our school every time one of these events are held. Seriously, didn’t your parents ever say, “If you have something bad to say, don’t say it.”

  16. J says:

    It’s racist. It’s unintentionally racist. Cheers for providing some socio-political discourse that the school desperately needed when I went there.

  17. Une Personne says:

    Racism: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. This the definition of the word racism. The reason racism is condemned is because of the second portion of the definition “as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”. Tribal Tuesday doesn’t make Natives inferior or superior to other races nor does it enforce any type of stereotype. Saying that calling the natives “Tribal” is offensive is like calling British people Imperials or American people republicans (not referring to the party) and saying that calling them by those titles are offensive. Also, this can’t be racist because tribal isn’t a characteristic of a person, it’s a form of government/nation. Please understand the vocabulary of your accusations before you make them.

  18. Student says:

    I completely understand freedom of speech, but this is being taken way to far. Do you honestly think Brad or Michael or whoever woke up one day and decided that they were going to intentionally offend the student body and try to show racism? No. In all my years I’ve been at west side and my siblings, I’ve never seen anyone stick up for “ghetto day” or “hick day” or whatever we have when in all honesty that probably offends some people just as much. It’s a joke. It’s a home coming theme, and they’re seniors trying to make their last home coming memorable and you’re stretching this way beyond what it needs to be. If you have a problem with it, it’s over with. The day is passed and if you still wish to share your thoughts, don’t hide behind a computer. Now, I hope everyone has a wonderful Washington Wednesday tomorrow and congressmen it up. 🙂

    • Crystal Wang says:

      Lol Hi I honestly care don’t really care about a homecoming theme for a high school I don’t attend any more, but it’s pretty funny how you tell people “if you still wish to share your thoughts, don’t hide behind a computer” under the name “Student”.
      Like what?

      -Crystal Wang
      Former Scarlette Writer/Columnist

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