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Halloween book displays and respectful representation.

Trick or Treat!

As October 31st draws near, the conversation often turns to the question of appropriate costumes, which includes issues of cultural appropriation and misrepresentation. This is especially true of “Aboriginal costumes.”

As you select books for your Halloween display, you might want to consider if those books have respectful images of Indigenous people.

Typically, these costumes take elements from various Nations (i.e. Native designs or symbols, head dresses, medicine bags, etc.) and weave them together in a mishmash meant to be “Indian.” However, regalia has specific and often spiritual significance. Wearing it in a haphazard or inappropriate way trivializes its meaning. In addition, because Indigenous culture has a history of being eroded and repressed in mainstream society, treating identity as a “costume” is simply another form of that erosion. Just as wearing a grab-bag of liturgical vestments from a variety of religions would be seen as bad taste, so too is wearing an “Aboriginal” costume.

--  Food for thought as we get ready for the Trick-or-treaters.