On not offending or culturally appropriating

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/04/27 14:37 +00:00, original URI: http://www.siao2.com/2015/04/27/8770668856267196393.aspx


Valued friend and colleague Roy Boney of Cherokee Nation pointed out the following article:

http://www.thelanguagedocumentationcrowd.org/blog/2014/8/14/is-learning-a-minorityindigenous-language-of-another-culture-a-form-of-cultural-appropriation

Now he specifically mentioned that he didn't write the article and that he didn't necessarily agree with all of it either. There are many reasons why I should not have an opinion on this, especially since I am not a Native American Indian person. I'll quickly give my bonafides and let you judge my right to weigh in:

Anyway, the article was kind of a mess, conflating way too many issues in one place to be completely reasonable.

With that said, any time the people who own or "own" or OWN a language do not feel that they were consulted, partnered with, or appropriately involved will have a reasonable case for feeling taken advantage of, a little or even a lot.

On balance, I would hate to equate the real crimes against the Native peoples of North America or Australia or South America with some of the less serious issues the article makes hay of.

In the end, Chief Wahoo is a caricature; the Trail of Tears is a genuine issue. And there really is a serious difference between them, even if only in degree and they are on far ends of a spectrum. Equating them all to make a point runs the risk of missing the point.


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