Non-Native students “playing Indian” at Santa Barbara City College
Teepee constructed to host a tea party
SANTA BARABA, CALIFORNIA — Eric Heras (Apache), a student at Santa Barbara City College, wants to know why so many non-Native art students think it is all right to build a teepee and “play Indian” on the west campus of the school he attends.
“I obviously feel this is wrong on many levels and want it taken down, but I would also like to truly educate our community about why this is wrong,” commented Heras. “It made me feel like I was the abnormal one for thinking and feeling it wasn’t okay and is wrong. I just want people to know the negative impact on Natives and Non-Natives that this can have by continuing the long tradition of negative stereo-types of American Indians — intentionally and unintentionally.”
The following message was posted on the Santa Barbara City College – S.B.C.C. Facebook page:
“Curious about the Teepee on West Campus? Tonight from 5-8pm these art students will be hosting Tea in the Teepee, sharing their project made from reclaimed wood. Bring good vibes, fun energy and check out this awesome project.”
It is not immediately known if the teepee is associated with a student Tea Party group or simply a tea club on campus.
The Santa Barbara City College’s website touts the institution as being the “#1 Community College in the NATION.” American Indians make up a mere one percent of the total student population at the college located almost one-hundred miles northwest of Los Angeles.
“When I saw the photos I was totally disgusted. Here is another example of inappropriate use of culture by non-Native people,” commented Corine Fairbanks, director of American Indian Movement – Southern California.
Inquiries made to Santa Barbara City College represenatives by Native News Online were not returned over the weekend.