on 2014-03-13 13:24 (UTC)
piranha: red origami crane (orizuru)
Posted by [personal profile] piranha
yeah, it can be hard to pull off, but the authors are not actually obnoxious about it, and as far as i can tell, they've done more research than average; they've got the tribes right for the region, and the petroglyphs, and there is not a dreamweaver or a shaman in sight, which is usually a dead giveaway for "i did my research through hollywood". though there is a honking bit of a stereotype in jasper, who is strong and silent and wise, always in touch with nature (freezing water is nothing to this man and he actually likes to sleep on the ground).

but i am mostly uncomfortable with the white brit becoming a man of native-american mysticism, chosen by the spirits, when there is a perfectly fine native american man, albeit cherokee (while the locals were shoshone), already living on the ranch, who is also quite sensitive to those spirits. that's where i feel appropriation rear its ugly head. why the heck is dale the chosen one when jasper cares just as much? couldn't we find some other mission for dale?

heck, i adore dale; he's a wonderful character, and it's not like he's trying to be one of those white people who grab onto native spirituality. he doesn't, at all. he has no clue what to do about this for quite a while (heck, he thinks it might be part of his mental breakdown). and i know that no matter whence you hail, sometimes things entirely foreign to your own cultural background feel like "home". part of me wants to be happy that he has found a mission and a place to belong. when i was much younger, this would have pushed all my positive buttons. but it just doesn't sit quite right anymore. i am not sure whether i am making too much of it either, because i think there's nothing per se wrong with borrowing from other cultures as long as one does so mindfully and without distorting it. just.... yeah. it doesn't feel quite right here.

somebody else might not have those problems because as i said, there is actual research, and the series excels in rich, authentic appearing world building -- i mean, it's written by brits, but mostly takes place on a ranch in wyoming, and i really think they're doing an ace job.
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