Amanda Blackhorse, Dine’. known for her activism in Indian Country against Native Mascots and for filing suits against the Washington NFL team, recently took to Twitter with a petition signed by 13,773 people opposing “their use of stolen Native identities as Halloween costumes for profit.”
Upon arrival, Blackhorse tweeted that Yandy CEO Jeff Watton told Blackhorse and others that he would refuse to have a discussion with them about the costumes, and told them to leave immediately. Watton also told them he would call the police.
Yandy CEO Jeff Watton told Blackhorse and others that he would refuse to have a discussion with them. Photo: Twitter Amanda Blackhorse
In Blackhorse’s tweet she said:
“We went back to @yandy to deliver @zoexrain petition w/ 13,773 signatures opposing their use of stolen Native identities as Halloween costumes for profit. CEO Jeff Watton immediately told us to leave & threatened to call the police. He refused any discussion with us.”
Blackhorse’s reference to @zoexrain is the Twitter account of Zoe Dejecacion, who started the petition, Stop Yandy From Using Our Culture As A Costume, about two weeks ago on petition.org.
In the petition’s description, Dejecacion writes the following:
For years, Indigenous peoples have been protesting the use of our culture as Halloween costumes. We have made efforts to discourage consumers from buying these costumes that grossly appropriate our culture and sacred regalia through education, but it is clear that we have to go straight to the source.
Recently, Yandy has pulled their “Yandy Brave Red Maiden” based on the fictional show, The Handmaid’s Tale, due to backlash. However, when confronted about their Native costumes that mock a real culture, they refuse to pull them because they simply make them too much money ($150,000 a year), and they haven’t seen enough demonstration and outrage from the public.
Following Blackhorse’s initial tweet announcing Yandy CEO Jeff Watton had told Blackhorse and others to leave immediately, she continued a thread voicing her stance on the situation, which she called “ironic.”
“I find it incredibly ironic that a corporation like @yandy say they’re paying homage to Native women but don’t listen to actual Native women. We’ve been calling for the removal of the over 40 Native-themed “sexy” & “seductress” costumes of Native women for some time now.”
Blackhorse continued, “@yandy Over sexualizing Indigenous women furthers stereotypes of Native women. 4 out of 5 Native women have been victims of violence in their lifetime and your stereotypes of us don’t help those numbers, in fact, they make it worst. Your stereotyping perpetuate violence.”
Yandy has refused Indian Country Today’s previous requests for comment.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling
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