The Walt Disney Company is one of the most successful media conglomerate companies in the world. Just about everyone has heard of the Disney theme parks stationed in Florida, California, and abroad. Just about everyone has seen classic Disney films like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Not everyone knows about Disney's relationship with the gambling industry, however, and it is a noteworthy one.
Over the years, Disney has acquired the rights to several major entertainment companies and their licensed characters. In 2009, Disney bought the Marvel Entertainment company, creator of the famed Marvel comic books and a slew of popular superhero characters. In 2012, it purchased all rights to LucasFilm, the parent company that created the Star Wars brand.
Disney announced its plans to phase out all Star Wars and Marvel-themed casino slot machines in the United States last fall. The multimillion dollar company has the power to do this, because it now owns all rights to these brands.
According to a Disney spokeswoman, the character-themed slot phase-out is not a new decision. As part of Marvel's “integration” with Disney, she said the decision was made several years ago to let the machines gradually fade out through attrition. Only a few Marvel license agreements remain at this point, and they are set to expire within the next several years. Star Wars-themed slots will also trickle away, but it will take a few more years for that process to complete.
[...] Disney wields a certain amount of power over casinos, both on land and online, because of these acquisitions. Instead of promoting Star Wars and Marvel characters via slot machines, the company prefers to use their likenesses in movies that serve to perpetuate the Disney brand.
As the owner of LucasFilm, Disney has another trilogy of Star Wars films currently in the works. [...] Fans can expect to see Disney continue to advance their brands through avenues other than the gaming industry.
Disney has made its opinion of the gambling industry known in Florida: It does not support the addition of more resort casinos to that area. Not only does Disney plan to phase out Marvel and Star Wars-themed slot machines, it also hopes to prevent the development of new casino resorts in the state.
As it stands today, Orlando's Walt Disney World is the top tourist attraction on the globe. Over 50 million people visit the entertainment resort every year and partake of theme parks like Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. From a business standpoint, it makes sense that Disney would not want another tourist draw infringing on its potential customer base in the Orlando area.
Disney denies that self-interest is its main motivation for opposing new casinos. Andrea Finger, a spokeswoman for the company, said the corporation opposes casino expansion for “many reasons.” One of the primary reasons is the fact that Florida is a “family friendly” vacation spot; adding more casinos to the landscape would tarnish that. Finger lauded Florida's efforts in “research, innovation, and entrepreneurship” and indicated that adding more casino resorts would create an “inconsistent” atmosphere in the state.
Finger made no statement suggesting that Disney is protecting its own interests by objecting to more casinos. This inference has been made, however, by critics based on the connection between Disney and its Marvel and Star Wars slot machines that recently came to light.
Critics also cite the fact that increased Florida casinos might steal valuable convention contracts from the Mickey Mouse company. At this point, Disney hosts approximately 700,000 square feet of convention space in its Florida resorts.
Disney's ownership of Marvel and LucasFilm slot machines was brought to the public's attention by New York Times reporters Lizette Alvarez and Michael Snyder. Critics immediately began shouting hypocrisy at the fact that Disney, a vocal gambling opponent, owns and profits from character-themed casino slot machines.
The Times reporters asked Disney whether its ownership of the slots “undercut” its casino gambling stance. A spokeswoman responded that the company's affiliation with the casinos was only temporary, and that it would take a few years for current slot machine contracts to expire.
[...] When Marvel and Star Wars-themed slots do eventually disappear from casinos, their absence will be a blow to the gaming industry. Casino patrons are drawn to the colorful games touting Spider Man, Darth Vader, and other exciting Hollywood characters. Until the machines are completely phased out, the characters will continue to entertain casino patrons both online and on land.
The online gaming industry will definitely be affected by Disney's prohibition. The Spider Man Slot game, for example, is an enticing game for online gamblers that was introduced in 2012. Other Marvel-themed online slots include Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor, and Wolverine Slots. The eventual loss of these games will leave a gaping hole in customers' palette of gaming choices.
[Possibly in response to Disney's decision], a group called the Associated Industries of Florida launched a new pro-casino campaign. This group is lobbying for more casinos in the area as a means of promoting jobs and stimulating the local economy. Analysts expect the battle between Disney and pro-casino lobbyists to become more heated as politicians compete for voter support in the upcoming election. (Source)
[However, Orlando isn't the only city that Disney is engaging in anti-casino efforts with.] The biggest challenger standing between [the city of] Miami and casinos is a mouse.
Walt Disney World, the giant resort near Orlando whose four theme parks draw more than 45 million visitors a year, has made preventing "destination" casinos a top priority. And few, if any, businesses carry as much weight in Florida as Disney, which employs more than 60,000 workers, generates nearly $600 million a year in tax revenue — and doled out more than $2 million to political candidates and causes during the past election cycle.
Some analysts say Disney — and, by extension, Orlando's entire tourism industry — has good reason to be wary of casinos. Though adult-oriented resorts in South Florida are unlikely to appeal to Disney's core audience of families with young children, they could siphon away travelers in narrower segments that are also important to the resort, from South Americans to conventions to weddings.
"Disney has lots of little pockets or niches that they're really good at getting market share in. And it adds up," said Duncan Dickson, a professor at the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management. "Disney doesn't want another Las Vegas anywhere close to them. Who needs the competition?"
[Case in point, Disney also has Disney Cruise Lines, based in both Miami and Port Canaveral (Orlando).] Disney Cruise Line has revealed it will extend its popular "Star Wars Day at Sea" program through 2019, with the addition of nine cruises -- each of which will include a Star Wars-themed sea day, complete with special programming and restaurant menus. Family-friendly activities include Star Wars character meet-and-greets, movie nights (featuring new releases), Star Wars trivia, and a Jedi training show, where kids can learn lightsaber skills and battle Darth Vader.
Throughout the day, restaurants and bars also will serve themed foods and cocktails. The sea day will end with a fireworks show and deck party, hosted by Star Wars heroes and villains. All cruises span seven nights and depart from Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida. (Source)
[...] Disney has always opposed efforts to expand gambling, [citing it as being againts its "family-friendly" image].
The Walt Disney Co., one of the most brand-protective companies on the planet, does not want to jeopardize its kid-friendly reputation by any association whatsoever with casinos and the taboo images they often conjure. The company's cruise line is the only major operator to sail ships without onboard casinos, which are typically one of the biggest generators of on-board spending.
"We've studied this issue carefully and remain opposed for many reasons," said Disney spokesman Mike Griffin, "including the fact that it is inconsistent with Florida's brand as a family-friendly destination, and with the efforts we've long supported to diversify Florida's economy through research, innovation, and entrepreneurship."
The legislation to be considered in Tallahassee would authorize three "destination" casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Each would boast a luxury hotel, shops, restaurants, convention space and casinos with every major game, from blackjack to roulette and craps. Any company awarded a casino license would have to spend at least $2 billion building the facility.
Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts, both based in Las Vegas, and Genting, a Malaysian-based resort developer, are among the companies expected to seek licenses. Genting has already spent more than $300 million to buy bay-front property in downtown Miami and has announced plans for a $3.8 billion resort.
All have promised they will create thousands of jobs in South Florida, making the deal attractive to lawmakers hoping to lower the state's 10.6 percent unemployment rate.
Analysts say anyone that invests that much capital to build a resort also will have to spend lavishly to market the property. At a minimum, that will force Disney to ramp up its own spending on advertising, eroding its profit margins.
"Anytime you've got to fight and compete with more marketing dollars, which you know these folks have in abundance, it makes Disney's job that much harder to battle against," said Vicki Johnson, a tourism-marketing expert in Orlando.
More specifically, casinos could prove attractive draws in key markets for Disney. Executives at Genting, for instance, have said they would market heavily in Latin America.
Latin America — particularly Brazil, its biggest country — has become one of Disney World's most valuable markets in recent years. This summer, even as overall attendance at the resort was about flat with a year ago, Disney officials said traffic from Brazil was up by a double-digit percentage.
Though Disney doesn't disclose exact attendance numbers, national data show that visitation from Brazil is up 27% to more than 833,000 so far this year. And though Miami is the most popular destination for South American travelers, Orlando is growing more rapidly.
Disney says its business from Brazil is predominantly family-leisure travel, the group least likely to be swayed by casinos. But some industry followers say lavish resorts, when combined with the boutique shopping already in Miami, might be enough to peel away some of that business, especially Brazilians with older children or none at all.
"All of a sudden, it really cuts into their [Disney's] South American markets," Johnson said.
Group meetings and conventions business is also a growing profit center for Disney, which has nearly 470,000 square feet of meeting space spread among its hotels. It also routinely picks up lucrative private parties and other business tied to shows using Orange County's massive, publicly owned convention center.
Finally, allowing casinos in South Florida could lead to pressure to build more in other parts of the state. Already, some hoteliers in Orlando — led by Harris Rosen, owner of three major convention hotels — have made rumblings about bringing casinos to Central Florida. And officials at Port Canaveral — Disney Cruise Line's home port — are interested in casinos, too.
"Once they get their foot in the door, what's next? Orange County is going to say, 'Well, if it's legal in Dade County, why isn't it legal here?' " said Dickson, the UCF professor.
Disney has worked to enlist broader business groups to fight the casino legislation, most notably the Florida Chamber of Commerce, even though more than half of the businesses represented on the chamber's board of directors say they are neutral on the issue.
And the opposition from Disney has put casino boosters on the defensive during the past few days.
"Florida's identity cannot be changed because one casino or two destination resorts open in Miami-Dade County," said state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, who is sponsoring the casino legislation in the Florida House of Representatives.
"Florida will always be the Sunshine State," he added. "The dominant trademark of Florida will always be Disney World. I don't think they have anything to worry about when it comes to that." (Source)
There have been multiple attempts to garner support in the state legislature for non-Native American casinos and other forms of gambling expansion in the state. Currently, the Seminoles control the ability of Florida to expand full-fledged casinos per their current compact. And the power of the Seminoles in the state is substantial.
In order to change current law, there must be a constitutional amendment backed by the voters of Florida. There is one such opportunity on the ballot for the November 6, 2018 election.
The Casino Gambling Initiative, if approved, would give voters the exclusive right to authorize casinos going forward, casinos being comprised of card games, slot machines, and other casino-style games. All ballot measures in the future would then require a citizen-initiated process by which a number of signatures of registered voters must be obtained for ballot consideration.
Currently, however, the Seminoles reserve the exclusive right to offer blackjack, craps, and roulette in Florida, which would present a problem that would have to be addressed. The agreement with the Seminoles was signed by Governor Rick Scott in 2015, and is effective for 20 years.
While this may end up in a legal fight, poker rooms are not an exclusive right of the tribe, and would not be an issue.
If Amendment 3 passes in November by 60% or more of the popular vote, a new day may begin for casinos in Florida. This will also drastically increase the opportunity for poker rooms throughout the state. (Source)
The US Supreme Court repealed the longstanding federal sports betting ban known as PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act). The landmark decision allows states to dictate their own sports wagering laws.
That means sports betting could be coming to Florida casinos, should the legislature pass market regulations. But Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam said this week that if he’s elected, he would oppose such legislation.
[Putnam also echoes Disney's reasoning.]
“I’ve always been one who has said we don’t need to expand the footprint of gambling in Florida,” Putnam declared at a campaign stop. “It’s not who we are as a state. We’re a family-friendly vacation destination. We’re a small business-oriented state.”
“If I lived in the middle of the desert in Nevada, [like Las Vegas], maybe I would grasp onto whatever straw or life raft somebody threw me,” he continued. “But we live in Florida, and we’ve got unlimited opportunities, and we don’t need to sell our state short.” (Source)
Earlier this year, Disney also gave $400,000 to Florida Grown, a committee supporting Putnam's gubernatorial bid.
[...] Disney officials would not agree to an interview, but in a statement, Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World Resorts, wrote, “We support candidates who understand issues important to our company, and demonstrate strong support for business and tourism in Florida.” (Source)
[Meanwhile, Disney is busy constructing what it hopes will be its next big moneymaker: Galaxy's Edge, a Star Wars-themed land in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Disney also plans to construct a Star Wars-themed hotel and resort adjacent to Galaxy's Edge.]
The ongoing success of high-profile films, like the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, can play a big role in the theme parks ability to tap into new characters and storylines for rides and shows.
Experts have said the success in theme park rides today are built on characters and properties that resonate with visitors outside the park. Thus new lands themed after popular franchises have proven to be a boon — like Disney's Star Wars and Frozen attractions, and Universal Orlando Resort's success with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
[So far this year], the theme parks division for the quarter saw a 13% increase in revenue to $4.87 billion, up from $4.29 billion for the same time last year. The division also saw a 13% increase in revenue for the first six months of the year to $10.03 billion, up from $8.85 billion for the year-ago period.
According to the earnings report:
"Results included a benefit from a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday relative to our fiscal periods. The current quarter included one week of the Easter holiday, whereas the entire Easter holiday fell in the third quarter of the prior year. Higher operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was primarily due to increased guest spending, attendance growth at Walt Disney World Resort and higher sponsorship revenue, partially offset by increased costs.
Guest spending growth was due to increases in average ticket prices, average daily hotel room rates and food, beverage and merchandise spending. The increase in costs was primarily due to labor and other cost inflation, an increase in depreciation associated with new attractions and higher technology spending." (Source)
[Driving this growth are Disney's planned new additions, including Galaxy's Edge, which is currently under construction ("labor costs").]
Disney’s new Star Wars land won’t open until next year, but it is not too early to declare that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be the most ambitious theme park land ever built.
The numbers alone might justify the claim. At 14 acres each, Disney’s twin Star Wars lands will be the largest the company has built at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts. Disney has not confirmed a budget for Galaxy’s Edge, but the project is believed widely within the industry to be costing at least one billion dollars. (Source)
|That's all fine and good, and I'm proud of our stance, but it leaves me with a sense of "now what?" What are your thoughts on what organizations like ours could best do on our side to bring about reconciliation and justice? What would that reconciliation and justice look like? Am I asking the wrong questions? What would you want to do/have happen regarding the doctrine of discovery?||The doctrine of discovery is the foundation of the American narrative. Euro-Americans really don't like their fairy tale to be screwed around with. I feel like this basic idea, that America was theirs for the taking, is the reason for most contemporary native issues. In Johnson v. M'Intosh, the game plan for all future native relations was laid out. It was okay that our land was stolen. It continues to justify the diminishing of treaty rights. There is no justice. Things can move towards mutual respect, but without our land, we can never have justice. Even with true sovereignty, without our land, we aren't ourselves. What could make things better? Euro-Americans understanding that we are sovereign, we owe you nothing, and you can't keep stealing our lands and resources. For people to know that colonization is still happening. For the Keystone pipeline to be shutdown for good.|
|If I'm not mistaken, Benjamin Franklin was impressed with how various Native American groups developed political relationships. I remember reading a paper on his decision making during the continental Congress being hugely influenced by Native ideas.||Yeah, many of the so-called founders were inspired by the Iroquois confederacy.|
|Woot woot for the Iroquois! hi A.F. (it's pj, btw)||I knew by the name, haha.|
|Do you speak Ojiberish? (No offense intended, this is what my Ojibwe friends call it.)||I took Ojibwemowin, the Ojibwe language, for three years and am still absolute shit at it. It's an incredibly difficult language, and I am much more comfortable reading/writing it than I am speaking it. I got the opportunity to work in an Ojibwe immersion preschool, and I hope that when I have kids they will be able to attend immersion school.|
|Were you raised Christian? How do you feel about Christianity now? What do you relate to a religion that viewed natives as savages?||Happily, both my parents are atheists. My grandparents didn't see religion as a priority, and raised my parents without religion. I have a hard time understanding how native people, or African-Americans, or to be honest, most people can be Christians with the amount of blood on the hands of the church. But especially those of us that used to be considered less than human.|
|Canadian here. Have you studied anything about the Canadian First Nations people? How are Canadian and American First Nations different today? Do you feel that since you have a Norwegian mother you are treated differently by fellow natives? I am sure you know the story of Louis Rielle (I hope...long story short he fought for Metis people to gain rights since neither natives nor caucasions saw them as their 'people'). From what I have seen today, there is still prejudice against Metis people (or mixed races). Have you run into this problem, from either side? Thank you for this AMA.||I feel like the biggest struggle I've had has been more of a personal one than one related to my community. I grew up in a city with an very, very strong native community, so I never felt like being mixed was an obstacle. The biggest struggle I had was because I was pretty crazy Industrial goth/punk in high school, and it didn't fit with how most native kids identified themselves.|
|Have you ever thought that some mascots of kinda being respect for that group of people? For example there's a school by me called the Wappingers Indians, because the Wappingers tribe lived in that area and fought for the Patriots in the American Revolution until they were slaughtered by the British. There is still an ongoing controversy about that. Another school by me had a Gael (People from Ireland and Scotland) as their mascot and he was depicted as a savage warrior with weapons and armor, but nobody minded at all. Do you think it might be a double standard at all or kind of like a "it's not offensive when a black guy says the n word" thing?||Even if it's done to honor a people, it never seems to lead to that. It seems to lead to people doing silly dances that mock us, wearing headdresses or facepaint and perpetuating stereotypes. Native history in the states is incredibly complicated, and life for native people is still difficult in a way that no other race faces. We shouldn't have to justify why we are offended when people continue to take our power and use our so called image for their own purposes.|
|Being half Norwegian and born in Minnesota, how offended are you by the Vikings?||Not at all. It was a Scandanavian majority when the team was named.|
|How do you feel the Ojibwe language is doing? How do you feel about it personally?||I have a deep love for the language. Nothing feels better to me than hearing and understanding our language. My grandma is a speaker, and she survived boarding school, so learning the language was my way of honoring her and her strength. It's an amazing language, and I feel like the current language movement is helping us move back to the language in a pretty amazing way. I said somewhere else here that I really hope that when I have kids I can send them to immersion school.|
|This is a little nerdy but I'm really interested in the unique grammar of different languages. Can you describe specifically what you love about Objiwe? For instance, how you talk about relationships, time, or causality?||The language is verb-based, and divided into animacy and inanimacy. So we talk about animals, plants and a few other random things the same way we talk about people. The language is also polysynthetic, so each word is made up of morphemes, or like, tiny word parts that make sense when you put them together.|
|I can't even begin to imagine the connection you felt at that point. It is different, but if it is only half of the emotion I got from seeing my Grandmother's name on the Ellis Island records...well, I bet it was something else.||My trip to Ellis Island was how I found out that our Norwegian family narrative was all a lie and we came illegally through Canada!|
|So my question is, what can I do to push these kids a little closer to caring about college?||I was nurtured, told I was smart and that got me where I am today. I am lucky to have two fantastic parents, and my dad's been sober since before I was born. My dad read to me everyday from the day I was born until I started reading to him. Nothing can match the power of great parents.|
|What was your household environment growing up? Were you poor, middle class, etc? (If that's not too personal.)||I feel like tribal-run schools are the answer for us, but they obviously can't be successful without addressing community-wide issues. Question for you: Did you go to A.I.M.S in St. Paul? If not, where?|
|I went to language magnet elemnetary school where we were taught Ojibwe and Spanish. The morning announcements were in Ojiibwe and there was a relatively high native population. I still think Ojjibwe is one of the most beautiful languages, a d its decline is depressing. What programs are you aware of that are working to restore the prominence of Ojibwe, and how well do you think they're working? What is your experience with the language and any elders who still speak it?||I was working class? Not dirt poor, but I know what it's like to go without.|
|It's actually a pretty exciting time for Ojibwe language! People are working together and racing to stop the decline. I worked in a language immersion preschool for a semester and it was so inspiring everyday to see tiny kids "get the language". I took three years, and my grandma is a speaker.|
|I went to the now-defunct (I think) Grant Language Magnet Elementary School in Duluth. They had a Math and Science Magnet, a Music Magnet, etc. We didn't learn them (Ojibwe and Spanish) as immersion languages, just seperate classes, but I think it was really valuable to have different languages and cultures as part of our daily routine. I continued learning Spanish in high school and while there actually was an Ojibwe course at that time, I was too intimidated to take it. Would you mind expounding on the 'community-wide issues' you feel should be addressed to improve tribal schools, and how you think those issues would be best approached?||Drug and alcohol abuse, lack of education, lack of hope?|
|What is your opinion on Native Hawaiians? 49 out of 50 states have recognized indigenous tribal groups and have a place in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Akaka bill has tried to be passed since 2000. Link to en.wikipedia.org Do you think that Native Americans would support the inclusion of native Hawaiians? What can be done to recognize them as equals under the law?||I think it's important for the distinct identity of Hawaiian Natives to be recognized. I don't think the Akaka bill is a solution though. While Hawaiian Natives shouldn't be grouped with American Indians identity wise, they should have the same rights that American Indians have when it comes to issues like the ability to hold land in trust status. It is really upsetting that some of the most devastating colonization and land theft happened so late in American history. So many multinational corporations profit off of stolen Hawaiian land. The land will never be returned, and justice will never be done, but I believe some sort of official status and tax set-up, possibly gaming, could be used to preserve and strengthen Hawaiian language and culture.|
|I believe most American Indians would support it.|
|they should have the same rights that American Indians have when it comes to issues like the ability to hold land in trust status. It is really upsetting that some of the most devastating colonization and land theft happened so late in American history. In this day and age, why care so much about land? It's relatively cheap after the housing bust and it's no a paticularly lucrative investment. Why not focus on assets that are more relavent in the 21st century?||Because land to native people isn't just an asset or an investment. We are connected to our land spiritually, it helps to give us our identity as people. Many creation stories tie a people directly to their land, like the Dine (Navajo) and Dinetah, their homeland. It's a completely different worldview.|
|Because land to native people isn't just an asset or an investment. We are connected to our land spiritually, it helps to give us our identity as people. Many creation stories tie a people directly to their land, like the Dine (Navajo) and Dinetah, their homeland. It's a completely different worldview. Navajo's didn't do squat with the land, they simply raided the Hopi farms whenever they needed food. They were aggressive assholes, and not good neighbors. Why do you cherish the values of such aggressive violent people? Also, what do you care about that made up spiritual nonsense, you said you were atheist? And what do you plan on doing with all this land? Scorch earth it and let the buffalo run free?||So you are obviously just racist, so I'm done responding to you.|
|So why do you want to steal it from people who worked hard for it? Wouldn't that be repeating the same injustice you're so upset about?||No one wants to steal land from anyone, most tribes try to buy back land when it's put up for sale, not steal land from individual land owners.|
|The fuck you talking about? I'm in an interracial relation. You're the bigot lumping all tribes into one group. Learn your fucking history the Navajo were shitty neighbors and notorious for raiding. Link to www.pbs.org.||I know my history thank you, and I've been incredibly careful to say over and over again that all tribes are different. I have you a specific example, which is true. Go read the Navajo creation story.|
|And how ignorant can you be thinking that you can't be racist if you are dating someone of another race. When was the last time "my best friend is black" was a valid argument?|
|I also had some very specific examples too which you have yet to address. Throwing around the racist card is the biggest cop out to legitimate criticism you could have possibly used. By the way, I'll be sure to tell her I'm a racist. LOL!||Your examples weren't connected to my argument. Saying that the Navajo raided the Hopi has nothing to do with the Navajo connection to their land.|
|Is the term 'Indian' offensive for you? I was told not to use that term when i was in Canada, live in a country where a similar term is used to describe native Americans.||I am a Redditor, so I am not easily offended. Indian doesn't bother me tremendously, because it's what I grew up calling myself. I prefer Ojibwe. If a boy wants me to love him, he'll know to say Anishinaabe, which is what I call myself. I really dislike Native American, and I shouldn't have used it in the title of this thread.|
|Will you talk about your objection to Native American? I typically just say 'native' unless I'm referencing a specific tribe or if the native person I'm talking to says Indian.||I like "native." I probably use that most frequently in casual conversation. Native American just sounds generic to me. It has no history or pull to it. American Indian connects to the history of our struggle.|
|Do you feel that the preservation of communities is more important than the wellfare of the people who make up those communities? It often feels like people over-emphasize preserving a culture, instead of just making sure everybody has access to education and a good social infrastructure and then let them decide how/if the culture they were born into should develop and/or change. What I mean to say is, we're all just people. I may not know how it is for native americans, but I do know what it's like to be part of a small culture that is and has been changing rapidly. ( I'm Icelandic) I don't think preserving how Icelandic culture was 50 or a 1000 years ago is really important, outside of museums and maintaining a basic awareness of how it is, just like I don't think the first caveman who invented a bow should've worried about the club-using culture he might be endangering. Societies evolve and change. Ok, sorry, a bit of a rant there. But in regards to what I've expressed, how do you feel Native american culture should be treated. Should it be preserved specifically? If so, how?||I don't think preservation of culture and current welfare are different, at least in the way I think about my community. I believe that preserving and maintaining our traditions is the best way to improve our current situations. Traditional food and medicine, spirituality, can all be very healing to us. I am a strong believer that historical trauma is a main cause of the negativity in our community, and returning to our ways as a people, speaking our language is a powerful way to overcome that trauma. Separating ourselves from our culture to improve our individual well-being would just be self-imposed genocide.|
|I think I disagree with just about every facet of what you just said there. I don't believe preserving or maintaining traditions will improve your current situations, that traditional food and medicine and spirituality will be healing to you, that historical trauma is felt by people who didn't live through it, or that it needs to be healed. That speaking a language would do so in either case or that seperating yourselves from how your culture used to be would be genocide. It might make the old culture, as it used to be, cease to exist, but that culture has no existance, rights or demands on sympathy, seperately from the people who make up that culture. (i.e. if all the individuals are better off, then who cares?)||Well, that's nice that you don't agree, but most of what I said is fact. Students in language immersion schools score higher than average on tests in both their native language and the immersion language. Traditional foods improve health, helping to control rates of diabetes and obesity. Engaging in activities, like canoeing, snowshoeing, sap making and ricing also helps to promote health. You can tell me I don't have a right to feel the pain of history, but you'll never understand what it's like to hear your grandmother scream in her sleep every night because she was nearly beaten to death by her boarding school teachers when she was six years old. Add to that, that many native kids were raised in multi-generational homes, and these are very real issues to us.|
|Are you a fan of Louise Erdrich? Most of what I know if the Ojibwe comes from her writing. When I was a kid I had a friend who was Native American. She was awesome. So awesome that I wished I was Native American, too:)||I am! I also love her bookstore. Funny story, I went to school with one of her daughters, and our parents were at our senior presentation together, and my dad asked her to get him a coffee (she was getting one for herself) and I was like "Jeez dad! Do you know who you just asked to wait on you?!" I was so embarrassed.|
|Do you find the word "squaw" to be offensive? I read it developed from feminine suffix (kw or skw) used in Algonquin languages and was never meant to be insulting but today, it is defined in dictionaries as a derogatory term. I find this funny since there are many places and businesses with squaw in the name. Just wondering what you think?||I do find it really offensive, mostly because of what it came to mean in the 19th and 20th centuries. Native women face very real issues and don't need to be sexualized in such an ignorant way.|
|Have you played Assassin's Creed III yet?||I am not a gamer, but one of my best friend's is a Ojibwe/Kootenai dude, and he is really interested in video game portrayals of Natives. I'll have to ask him how it is.|
|How was the coursework in your chosen field? I mean: how does one major in Amerind studies? Is there an American Indian Studies department? What are the kinds of sources that are available? Thanks.||The University of Minnesota has the oldest American Indian studies department in the US, so it's pretty well established. There are two tracks of study, language and general. I did general, but I also took three years of Ojibwe language. My area of interest is obviously more political, so I took mostly courses related to treaty law, constitutional issues and tribal economics, but I also took American Indian literature, cinema and philosophy, and a wide variety of other things. It's very interdisciplinary. The resources we use vary depending on what the subject matter is, but thankfully we have a lot of amazing profs that wrote the book on what they teach.|
|Is Native American an acceptable term for others to use for various groups when one isn't sure what specific group (Ojibwe, e.g.) a person is part of? Is there any distinction between the terms First Nations and Native American or is that just Canadian vs. U.S. preference?||It's mostly a Canadian/U.S. thing. I prefer American Indian over Native American, but Indigenous over either.|
|What do you think is the biggest political issue facing Ojibwes in your area? What about Native Americans in the country as a whole?||I think drug/alcohol abuse is still probably the number one issue facing most tribes. There have been a ridiculous amount of heroin overdoses in Minnesota in the past year. All of these problems lead to high levels of violence/gang crimes, drop-out rates, and a general cycle of poverty.|
|Do you have any book recommendations? I don't know a ton about Native cultures or history but I love to read nonfiction.||Hmmm! So many. All of Vine Deloria's work contains a breathtaking about of knowledge he wants to drop on you. Custer Died For Your Sins is a good place to start. Other than that, "Do All Indians Live in Tipis?" is a super easy read, and will make your more knowledgeable about natives than 90% of the population.|
|Thanks! Another question: I was just about to mention that I'll be glad to have some time to read said book over Thanksgiving break- does the concept of Thanksgiving piss (you, personally) off/how do you feel about it as a celebration of gratitude in general vs blah blah plymouth rock bullshit?||I would not celebrate Thanksgiving at all, because it's a completely made up story, but I really, really, really love the Tater Tot Hotdish and Turkey. I hate that it seems to make people think it's okay to put their child in a construction paper headdress.|
|What are your thoughts on the Leonard Peltier case? For those who don't know about him: His wikipedia page.||It is probably one of the greatest examples of American injustice. It's shameful, and if Barack Obama had any balls at all he would issue that pardon already.|
|Hey! Do you happen to have any authentic Native American recipes on hand? When I was in elementary school we visited a tribe and they made us absolutely delicious foods! Thanks :)||My favorite food is wild rice anything. Real, hand-parched, wood-toasted wild rice is so different than the garbage they sell in most stores. If you want the real stuff, hit up Native Harvest|
|Frybread is probably the most popular food associated with native people, but it's different by region. Ojibwe frybread is fat and fluffy, Dine (Navajo) frybread is big and thin. I try not to eat too much of it because it's terrible for you.|
|I like rice. Rice is good, especially if you're hungry and want to eat 2,000 of something.--MH.||I always have enough upvotes for Mitch.|
|There's a BBQ restaurant near me in CA that makes tacos with fry bread. It's delicious! And, I guess, an interesting case of cultural diversity ;)||Now I'm hungry!|
|The Seminoles do fluffy fry bread too :)||I'll have to stop by.|
|There is a fry-bread taco truck in Seattle.||Dreams do come true? What is Pacific Northwest frybread like?|
|Do you consider yourself similar to the Aboriginals of Australia? (as in the events that unfold over history)||I haven't studied aboriginal history in depth, but the basic narrative of colonization and genocide has been told endless times around the globe, and is still happening today.|
|Do you think it's appropriate for natives to go to school for a heavily reduced or free cost? I myself will have to be in a great amount of debt after college if I don't get some scholarships.||I do think it's appropriate. Several schools that offer programs like this do so as a qualification of their founding, such as land-grant schools. American Indian people are barely removed from an active campaign of genocide. My grandma went to a boarding school where she was beaten for speaking Ojibwe. Special programs for native students is really the least thing that can be done.|
|And, mind you, it's not like we just get a free coupon for college. We still have to qualify, apply for programs and scholarships and take out loans for the rest like everyone else.|
|What do you think of programs in which the standards for first nations/native people are lower than others?||I don't know about those programs. I had to do the same things to graduate as everyone else.|
|Where did you go to high school? I'm curious because the school I went to, South, has a program for Ojibwe students (All Nations). Were you in it, or, if not, how do you feel about having essentially a separate high school for Native kids?||I also went to South, and to All Nations. What up?! I think it's pretty much bullshit how segregated the Minneapolis Public Schools are. But I also think it's valuable to have a program that celebrates our language and culture, and to be around other native kids. I don't know how the program works now, but as a senior I felt like we got a ton of valuable "extra attention" to try and get us all to college. And those of us that got to college seemed to graduate and do well.|
|Oh, sweet, I kind of guessed you'd gone there. When did you graduate? (I graduated in '09.) Re segregation: Agreed, and it's total BS. They've now gone to making all schools neighborhood schools rather than magnets, which, given how segregated Minneapolis itself is, only exacerbates the problem.||I graduated in '05.|
|I'm heavily into genealogy and making my family tree..I have tons and tons of relatives on there, all fully researched and mapped out. Yet when I try to research her...It's like she didn't exist!! There are no records of her, no birth certificate, nothing. I'm guessing it's because of the American government not really documenting 'native americans' (sorry for using the term, i know you hate it >.<) Anyway, what would your advice or thoughts be on this?||First of all, you might want to find out if she was Lakota, Nakota, or Dakota, or choose one to use, because Sioux doesn't have great connotations. Most native people were actually pretty heavily documented. You should try using the databases at the National Archives. I have found both my grandparents on Census rolls and school records.|
|How are you?||I'm pretty good. I've been up since five and can't fall asleep, but there's always more reddit.|
|How do you feel about Native American stereotypes? Whats the deal with the casino thing? I have no clue cos im British.||Man, I was just in London for 10 days, and I got such mixed messages about native people. I watched that great documentary on BBC 4, Inventing the Indian, saw some cool exhibits at the British Museum, but then saw some awkward Indian costumes on Halloween. That documentary would never been shown on mainstream media in the states, it's far too progressive.|
|Many people, both native and non-native, dismiss stereotypes and claim that it's silly to be offended by them. But it's the place they come from that is the most offensive. Sure, you might look cute dressed up as Poke-a-hot-ass, but would you wear black-face to a party? No. People think it's okay to stereotype native people because we still aren't seen as people. We are more of a fairy tale part of the American identity. So until people stop naming sports teams after us, dressing up as us and making light of us, it's hard to obtain the advancements that our people need/want.|
|The casino thing, is that some tribes own casinos, some of them are incredibly profitable, and some make enough just to support the jobs they provide. Often times, the jobs that a casino provides might be some of the only jobs available for miles, if not hundreds of miles. Casinos have a ton of downsides, but they have also allowed for major advancements in sovereignty.|
|Sadly im sure a lot of people probably did black up for halloween.||Yeah, if people do that here, they will catch endless shit. It happens, but it usually makes the news/reddit. It's not socially acceptable, like how it is to portray native people.|
|I'm in a Native American Literature course right now, and I just came here to ask about Erdrich, but then I saw that the question had already been asked. :(||I think the quickest building stereotype is that we all get a ton of money from the government/casinos. The people that get money from casinos (per capita payments) are in the extreme minority. I don't get any money from my tribe other than scholarships for college.|
|Anyway, are there any stereotypes of Native Americans that you can dispel for us? I'm really interested in Native American culture, and I'm Native American myself (only about 1/18, but still), and I always hoped to learn more about the various types/cultures.||And as for money from the government, my family get's hilariously small checks from the government, for land payments, every few years. We are talking like $2.76 here.|
|Your thoughts on petroleum/resource extraction on reservation lands? The Ft. Berthoud reservation sits on what is quite likely going to be the most productive oil field in all of North America in the next decade. How can the royalties be distributed in a way that actually helps those on the reservation?||I'm pretty hesitant on resource extraction because of the unknown effects on the environment. Especially with techniques like fraccing. It should be left to tribal governments to decide how to use their resources, but I hope that as more tribes grow their economies, green energy will be a growing part of things.|
|A fellow Anishinaab woman here from Turle Mountain. We're actually the same age and are probably related. I went to Dartmouth with Louis Erdrich's daughter, who is my cousin as well. So yeah. If you and I don't know each other in real life, we should!!! (PM me if you'de like to!)||I went to the U with Louise's other daughter, haha. You should PM me so I don't lose track of you in this growing thread.|
|My question is did you take any Ojibwe before attending UMN? My great-grandparents spoke Mitchif but did not teach it to their children/grandchildren because they were all part of the boarding school generation, and as such I never got a chance to learn my language. I'd love to someday.||I did PSEO in high school, so I took Ojibwe with Rick at Augsburg. I want to teach my imaginary future children Ojibwe so bad. Brendan at the U says the best way to carry on the language is to have babies and speak to them in the language!|
|Also, do you plan on teaching Ojibwe to your children? How do you feel about having kids with a non-Native or non-Ojibwe man?||I feel like the racial aspect of marriage is one of the hardest issues of being native today. I really want to find an Ojibwe man, but damn, it's hard to find a good one (that's not already taken.) But seriously, how cute are native babies, right?|
|No. I'm in Montreal for an llm in aviation and space law. Try to get back a couple of times a year. Grew up in Detroit. Any future education plans?||I work in a museum right now, and I'd love to go back and get my Ph.D in public history. I was going to be a lawyer, kicked ass on my LSAT and everything, and then my favorite prof got me into museum work instead.|
|Are you married? Young? Not that I am in the market for an Ojibwe lawyer or anything. Hahaha.|
|Do you speak your language? If you do, at what level, do you know basic phrases, or are you fluent?||I took it for three years in college, so I am somewhere between those two options. It is incredibly hard language.|
|What is it with Norwegians and Natives? My mother in law is half chippewa, and my father in law is mostly Norwegian. And don't say "it's because Norwegians (re)settled the great lakes", because we're all in Utah.||Chippewa is the same as Ojibwe, you know that right? :) O-jib-wah became Chip-pe-wah.|
|Also I texted my wife about this AMA, she's excited to check it out.||Norwegians and Ojibwes are both incredibly hot people, so I can see why we dig each other. Not that I am biased or anything.|
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