Native Americans in Comedy

  • Using Native Americans as the subject of a comedic routine as a jumping off point for a two-part discussion
    • Showcase the knowledge we have gained throughout this course
    • Discuss the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in relation to our class
  • Start by showing a clip from The Colbert Report, originally aired 1/4/11, entitled “Native American Overlords”
  • Why I picked this clip
    • Colbert makes references to Native American land
      • The “non-binding” nature of the declaration, which states that indigenous people have the right to traditionally owned lands
      • Native Americans might build burial grounds on our “sacred malls”
    • The second comment pokes fun at the idea of modern structures such as malls being built on top of Native American burial grounds, which can be classified as “sacred lands”
  • We have learned that land and the earth are integral to indigenous spirituality, and these spaces have long been contested/disputed
    • Example of Medicine Wheel, WY. What was disputed here? Tourists in the park encroaching on Native American ceremonial space. Has our view of this debate changed over the course of this class?
  • Lay out the five most important clauses in the UN Declaration
    • Indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such (1)
    • Indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests (5)
    • [There is an] urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources (6)
    • Control by indigenous peoples over developments affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs (9)
    • The situation of indigenous peoples varies from region to region and from country to country and that the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical and cultural backgrounds should be taken into consideration (22)
  • Two important questions
    • Clause 1: Have we seen this throughout the class? How has this idea developed/evolved over time?
    • Clause 22: How do we make this possible? Is it possible at all? What is the likelihood that this will become and continue to be a reality?

– Kate Santulli

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