I am participating in a project in Second Life called Native Lands, which is part of the USC Network Culture Project: SL and the Public Good Challenge. http://networkculture.usc.edu/ Native Lands is a place in SL to create and communicate authentic Native American culture.
A problem we face is inappropriate use of Native heritage in Second Life. The creation and communication of inauthentic, false and fraudulent "Native" culture here, and the volume, both in the sense of amount and sound level, of the false heritage that is being generated here drives out the authentic Native Americans.
At first I assumed most of the misappropriation was innocent. I still believe many non-Natives who try to create or interpret or claim Native heritage in some way are simply misguided.
But there are many others who deliberately misguide, mislead and defraud as a political statement.
In SL, this type of fraud takes three forms:
- Americans who may or may not have Native ancestry, but who are not eligible to be enrolled in a federally or state recognized tribe, and get belligerent about it.
- Inappropriate use of Native imagery in role play - Goreans are in this category.
- People who know they have no Native ancestry, but believe Native culture should be in the public domain for anyone to use or create at will.
Our Native American national symbols must be removed from their property.
Native Americans are dead serious about our National sovereignty. Every Native person has a gaping raw wound covered by that flag. You will certainly get a reaction if you touch it.
When I saw my flag along with a dozen others flying over one of those frauds' collection of fake Indian junk, it literally made me sick to my stomach.
I have no idea why these people are not satisfied with their own ethnicity and nationality. It is very strange. I have called on friends here in Second Life who have professional insights into how to approach the problem.
My two principle contacts in SL are Schmilsson Nilsson of the Understanding Islam project, and a French anthropologist named Sky Light. The worst offenders seem to be French, many of whom speak very little or no English.
I am preparing a complaint of violation of community standards to submit to Linden Labs about one extremely offensive display by a person who goes by the name of W**** S***, who runs an entertainment venue on the N********* sim. I am also looking into legal recourse against a person calling herself q******* H****, who is selling items labelled as Indian made in violation of US federal law.
I dont know how far I will get, but at least I can draw attention to how this has progressed from extremely bad taste to causing real harm to Native Americans in Second Life.
Thanks for your time,