A 7-Year-Old's Halloween Message: 'I Am a Human Being, Not a Costume'

ICTMN Staff
10/25/13

We grownups can tend to be falsely polite -- speaking or writing persuasively when what we really want to do is give orders. This seven-year-old girl (artist Gregg Deal's daughter) isn't so constrained.

"Don't dress up as an Indian," she says, after telling us how much she likes Halloween. "It hurts me, my people, and my culture." Deal has posted the video with the hashtag #iamnotacostume, as a follow up of sorts to his previous #changethename videos (which you can see here).

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MsChessie's picture
MsChessie
Submitted by MsChessie on
Oh, come on now! This is ridiculous! And Stupid! Sorry, people who feel like this are way too self-centered. What she is saying would be like telling people not to dress up like a cowboy or a politician or a WWE wrestler or an even an angel! Indians are part of our country's heritage and if she is referring to the 'bad' parts, well, it did happen just as there really were good and bad cowboys! I used to dress up as an Indian all the time when I was a kid; I loved the idea of being an Indian, living off the land as they did. (And yeah, in my play acting, I got shot by the cowboys alot!) But such a proud people!

jan's picture
jan
Submitted by jan on
I am shocked that Americans dress like Indians for halloween, but then Americans are very shocking. Not suprising really, it is in their roots. Shame the native Indians were not still in control of America, It would be a much better place. One love X

AB's picture
AB
Submitted by AB on
Hello Sage :) I like Halloween too. I applaud you for standing up and speaking out. It took courage and you did a very good job :) Don't sell yourself or abilities short. People need to know that when they do things like this, it's not only disrespectful but hurtful too. You will go far. Keep speaking up, speaking out, and educating. It's the only way things will change. Happy Halloween :)

trisha eagle's picture
trisha eagle
Submitted by trisha eagle on
Even a child can see and understand that this is a bad thing. Why do the adults have such a hard time understanding?

iluv2Bmom's picture
iluv2Bmom
Submitted by iluv2Bmom on
I personally disagree with this because halloween isn't about offending people, cultures etc. It's about kids dressing up as something they admire. Most kids choose a costume based on something or someone they can relate to, they want to be like or they want to do when they grow up. Kids dress up like Buzz Lightyear, as the girl from the movie Brave, as a fireman, as a police officer and even dress up as a cowboy or an indian. Halloween is about fun, not judgement.

MB's picture
MB
Submitted by MB on
MsChessie - You show your ignorance when you talk about dressing up as an "Indian". An "Indian" is someone born in India. An "Indian" is NOT an indigenous/aboriginal/native/first nations PERSON. Please educate yourself immediately and stop perpetuating grossly ignorant stereotypes.

Formerarcticiprincess's picture
Formerarcticipr...
Submitted by Formerarcticipr... on
The ignorance in these comments is stunning. Cowboys, politicians, firemen, wrestlers... these are professions, not cultural identities. Shame on all of you who don't know the difference and cannot grasp what a young girl has so succinctly articulated. Ignorance is indeed alive and well.

TinaA's picture
TinaA
Submitted by TinaA on
@MissChessie: No, it's you who are self-centered. You are worrying about not being able to dress up as a Native. Wow, how you've suffered. Native are not really so much as a part of this country's heritage so much as they are mascots and relics of the past. Wake up, please. Wake up. Find something else to dress up as.

john's picture
john
Submitted by john on
the sexual exploitations of our women in costumes such as "rez princess" "powwow royalty" is very disrespectful to our culture especially when they disrespect our sacred attire

Cure's picture
Cure
Submitted by Cure on
I hear your point about how great it is that she is standing up for something, but c'mon! explain to your kid why it is ok and why she should not be offended. this is a great example of what America has become... put your big girl panties on and get over it

KS's picture
KS
Submitted by KS on
Wow... Get rid of the Ben Franklins and the Geishas, don't forget 'French' maids and garcons in berets! Ridiculous. Well I grew up in the 80's... and my clothes were what everyone was wearing at the time and I really loved what I wore. I totally resent this little girl wanting to dress up 80's style, it's a mockery of who I was! I am a person not a costume. People need to get over themselves.

korangeen's picture
korangeen
Submitted by korangeen on
"I'm dressing up as an 80's rock star ... I am a human being, not a costume." Were the 80's rock stars not human beings? I don't want to offend anyone, but I really don't understand the argument here.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
I believe Native Americans knew how to brush their teeth. I am a former 80's popstar and I am offended she wants to dress like me! We are people too, please do not dress like me. Andrew Ridgley

STX's picture
STX
Submitted by STX on
It's a shame to see a kid being coached by a parent on such a ridiculous subject! Being of Native American heritage, I find it disgusting how people want to use events that happened many many many lifetimes ago to justify their thoughts and actions in the present day. Until people can let go of the negative aspects of our country's past, we will continue to be a divided and racist nation. People need to grow up, take accountability and do what's right in this world, and stop focusing all their energy on other people. Lead by example not judgement.

I am more Indian that you little white girl's picture
I am more India...
Submitted by I am more India... on
Give me a break. Who wrote this for you? Not only are you not much of a Indian you are not much of an actress. Tell your white father to protest something of value. Like getting little children to promote their parents ignorant agendas.

sprinic's picture
sprinic
Submitted by sprinic on
I think the little girl needs to chill out. Is me dressing like a baby for halloween an insult to babies? No. Me dressing as a obviously false sterotype of a people is not racist or anything of that nature. If you offended, frankly, too bad. Get over yourself, I'm not here to please your every whim. Frankly, the world is getting way to Politically correct for my taste, and I'm offended by that. Now, are you going to stop being so pc cuz im offended by it? No? Then why the hell is the road not a two way street. Im offended you dress like angels and mock religion (many religions have angels ppl). Will you stop dressing like that? No? Get over yourself.

Ant's picture
Ant
Submitted by Ant on
Isn't an 80's rockstar a human being not a costume? They are people too, have you not stopped to consider their feelings!

RJN's picture
RJN
Submitted by RJN on
We had better eliminate dressing up all together then. Still, I admire the passion. Especially coming from someone whiter than me, and I'm only 1/16 Chickasaw.

Kintantee's picture
Kintantee
Submitted by Kintantee on
Let the children have their fun they deserve it. All this PC is taking away the spirit of the season. And it is all about the children. Being Native I don't agree with this video at all. We (My Family and I) have never felt offended by Halloween and Costumes. And never would think of feeling it about children and their choice to be whatever they wanted to be for Halloween. Enjoy Life. It is short.

What next people?!'s picture
What next people?!
Submitted by What next people?! on
It's a costume people.... it's Halloween. Get on your soap box about something that matters and can change/help the world... not Halloween costumes! Anyone can be "offended" by ANY costume out there... I am hispanic, I don't get upset when people dress in sombreros and panchos. I don't even get upset when people drink tequila and scream arriba on Cinco de Mayo... get over it!

What next people?!'s picture
What next people?!
Submitted by What next people?! on
It's a costume people.... it's Halloween. Get on your soap box about something that matters and can change/help the world... not Halloween costumes! Anyone can be "offended" by ANY costume out there... I am hispanic, I don't get upset when people dress in sombreros and panchos. I don't even get upset when people drink tequila and scream arriba on Cinco de Mayo... get over it!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
What people here seem to forget is that rock stars, policemen, firemen, cowboys and princesses DID NOT SUFFER A GENOCIDE like Native Americans did. All these costumes are jobs or fictitious people (the princess anyway) and they encompass many different nationalities, cultures and ethnicities. How many people here who are claiming that we're just "too sensitive" to this mascot/Halloween costume thing would let their kids dress up in Blackface and gold chains and say they're a rapper? How many of you would let your kids paint their face brown, don a sombrero, a fake mustache and call themselves a Mexican?

kerry's picture
kerry
Submitted by kerry on
someone needs to teach her parents how to raise their kids. people dress up as indians, cowboys, pilgrims, witches.... the list goes on. In order for her to be hurt by this, shouldn't she be dressing daily as an indian??? The part her parents missed - Indians USED TO wear tanned leather with feathers and beads - not anymore. The only time indians dress like that now is when they put THEIR COSTUMES on for ceremonial dances and powwows. The clothes ARE a costume. The PEOPLE are not. Learn the difference parents, and teach your children.

Ghost's picture
Ghost
Submitted by Ghost on
But then this raises the question indeed what culture? There are so many people who claim to belong to the "Native American Culture" -insert tribal name here- and even though I hate to raise this.... but who can say what is right or wrong for a culture if a lot of the North American original cultures died with the people from the past taking a lot of the culture with them, because now I see about 80% (maybe more) or American's claiming to be Native American. However even though they may have some -blood- within the line this does NOT make you apart of a culture, to be apart of culture takes a lot more... food for thought?

Mabel Moran 's picture
Mabel Moran
Submitted by Mabel Moran on
I'm doing a film project on Native Americans and if any of you would like to be interviewed for my school project you'd be lots of help !!!!!!!! contact me if any of you are in the Los Angeles Area and would like to help out: mairabellaa@gmail.com mmoran014@mymail.lausd.net thank you all

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Yes, you are definitely a strong Indigenous woman!! Much respect. Thank you for your important message. Those who don't get the message need to go back and read the real history of Indigenous people...not the history taught to us in school.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Yes, you are definitely a strong Indigenous woman!! Much respect. Thank you for your important message. Those who don't get the message need to go back and read the real history of Indigenous people...not the history taught to us in school.
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