Kris Jenner, mother of Kim Kardashian, was interviewed on "Fox & Friends" Thursday, November 3. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Jenner Responds to 'Indian Giver' Backlash

ICTMN Staff
11/14/11

Kris Jenner, momager to the Kardashians, responded to an e-mail request from Tara J. Ryan, who asked her to publicly apologize for using the racist term "Indian giver" during a November 3 episode of Good Morning America.

Ryan, the Chickasaw/Choctaw president and owner of Tiger Lily Co.—a Native American arts and entertainment organization—took the time to contact Jenner directly pointing out not only the racist term but her daughter Kourtney Kardashian's Pocahontas costume.

"A family of people in this case, specifically two persons, who very publicly on National television in one week, in the very month that is supposed to be a teaching and learning month that is National Native American Heritage month (November) are in a 'bubble' of ignorance, especially ridiculous since you are surrounded by so many people of color and your children and late ex-husband are of Armenian descent," Ryan wrote to Jenner November 3 according to Newspaper Rock. She went on to ask Jenner for a "real, genuine public apology."

Jenner responded saying she is "truly sorry" and that she "had no intention of hurting or offending anyone." She chalked up the comment to being put on the spot and said "because of my dry sarcastic personality I was apparently trying to find a bit of levity in a really tough situation."

She went on to explain how it was a common phrase growing up: "I grew up in the 60's and in school it was a silly think (sic) kids would say if you took back a gift etc and I'm sure kids never gave it a second thought as to the kind of pain it could cause...but I get it and profusely apologize."

As to her daughter's costume choice, Jenner attributed that to Kourtney's fashion sense, saying her daughter is "inspired by the indian community and the amazing native style."

Ryan was not impressed with Jenner's response though. She pointed out in an analysis of the exchange that Kourtney's fashion choices don't dictate how the Native American community will feel about them. "This clearly indicates that she [Jenner] sees nothing wrong with the statements she made, and her daughter's actions, and in fact believes because it's members of her family doing and saying these things that we should somehow be honored."

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magbarb's picture
magbarb
Submitted by magbarb on
HELLO Kris? Native Americans are not scary halloween freaks and certainly not to be displayed as such. Sure, embrace our culture and learn from it. But first, THINK people. Not on halloween as a "costume" and just because it was the 60's does not make it ok today.

phillylaw105's picture
phillylaw105
Submitted by phillylaw105 on
I understand that native costumes can offend (particularly those that are racy or which would be offensive no matter what), but a little perspective might go a long way in bringing about change in that regard. If the school of thought is "it is absolutely offensive for any non-native, adult or child, to endeavor to dress in native style", then that should be the consistent mantra. Period. Asserting that a young child who studied Sacagawea or Pocahontas in school, felt a connection with that woman and thus chose to dress up like her, is turning her into a "halloween freak" seems extreme. Children find their heroes across all racial boundaries which, I think, is a good thing for the future. Finding positive ways for children of all races to honor the heroes they identify with in native culture should be the goal and I think that's a message all parents (native and non-native) can connect with. There seems to be an assumption in this line of articles that whites are always making fun of natives. Not so. (Mind you, I can't speak for the Kardashian's... they certainly don't represent me or anyone else I know of.) Should a 20' something understand that a sexualized maiden costume is offensive? Yep. But an 8 year old trying to "be like" his/ her hero??? Kids have done that across all races for generations.
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