NIKES SACRED SNEAKER, “AIR NATIVE N7”…..
Gawd, I tried to ignore this news item about Nike’s new sneaker the “Air Native N7”, the sneaker that’s supposed to make nice all our social ills and bring back the buffalo. But noooooooooooooooooo, I even got snail mail on this one eh.
Nike like Microsoft had very humble beginnings when they first started out. A client I body guarded was approached by a character who had a dream of sorts and was hustling for investors. Back then he was selling stock options for almost nothing. Today, my former client can kick himself in the butt for not investing in this new sneaker company, a sneaker company that started out in the back of a garage. So I guess Nike was a “rags to riches story” in a very real sense.
There is enough dialogue, sites and other material from both the corporate and the indigenous side to this story, adnauseum I might add. The name of the shoe N7 “honors the traditional Native American Seventh Generation philosophy, an approach that respects the impact of decisions made today on seven generations. The shoe’s design draws inspiration directly from Native American culture.” quoted a Nike official. But it all boils down to this;
“It’s all about the money Paisan, it’s all about the frigging money”, simple as that.
Again some mindless nymph thought it would be “cute” to use sacred traditional teachings or “Something Native” to hawk their wears. It’s as if they watched “Dances with Wolves” and “Pow Wow Highway” marathon before they went to the boardroom with this new and wonderful idea. A sneaker that will cure diabetes, paleeeeeeeeeeze! Schtick is schtick…. Racial profiling? If this were another ethnic minority there would be protests on the streets as spokesmen and women would line up to have their voices heard. Targeting Native American’s for sneakers is liken to the manufacturers of Colt 45 Malt Liquor who targeted the African American community years back. Both acts showed a careless disregard for the ethnic community, cultures, concerns as well as a taste of racism. “We know what’s best for you”
But the single most insulting thing is the fact sacred teachings and prophecies from within the Aboriginal communities are simply open game for Madison Avenue. I’m still pissed over Bob Redford’s use of “Sundance” to hawk films. Again I hear this lame excuse, “Well it’s for the greater good”. What greater good is there when we compromise the very essence of our spirituality to sell movies and now, sell sneakers?
How would the conquering people like it if we opened up the “Jesus Christ Bar and Grill, the Apostles Dating Service or the Holy Water Saloon” not so pretty huh. Blasphemous some religious zealots would say even at the notion I could possibly print this. Yet the Native culture and religions are constantly under assault with little to no regard for our concerns. We, our culture and spirituality is open game it would seem.
Corporate American has farmed out the manufacture of dream catchers, Mandela’s and other once traditional crafts to China. If this “cottage industry” was given to the Natives instead of China it would have offered opportunity and hope for thousands of craftsmen across the Native world. Maybe even make life a little better as we became more self sufficient and self reliant. Maybe we could have tasted just a little of the American Dream. For non Natives this would not seem like much. But to us Native’s beading and dream catchers have been the core of our survival. Selling bead work put lard in our larders when all else failed. And this was taken from us as well. With dream catchers being made all over the world it would have been nice of corporate America to have given these lucrative contracts to the Native’s, for a change.
As far as I’m concerned, we reap what we sow and frankly we compromised ourselves long ago when we allowed “Sundance” and other sacred things to be used for commercial reasons. Within the cultures that’ve practiced this sacred holy tradition it was an insult a total disregard for our religion and our traditions. But hey it’s for the greater good and so what if you compromise everything that is sacred. Bob sells films and they toss some crumbs to a few Natives in the process. What good did it do for us anyway, using the title “Sundance”? Not a blooming thing when you look at the division and lack of work that faces our Native entertainers. Fact is, I believe we cursed ourselves and made the medicine bad. We are still valets parking the cars while others go to the awards. We are forever typecast and relegated to playing the “tom tom” and trusty scout for our great white father. And dorks from production companies ask me if I can “Dress Native”, GAWD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gads, now our feet are typecast and we are further isolated from other cultures. It is patently offensive to my intelligence for someone to tell me a sneaker will cure diabetes. The only real cure is to stop eating the processed garbage called food. In this nation food kills since it’s all about the bottom line, yep it’s all about the money. And this “Sacred Sneaker” stupidity is yet another way to denude the very essence of who we are as a people by bastardizing sacred teachings and prophecies just to sell, sell, sell.
Apocalypto and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (fiction/love stories at best) are classic examples of this compromise of ethics and truth. It’s all for the sake of selling tickets and selling popcorn. And we are the pawns.
An old Pueblo man told me that the corn meal line has been drawn but no one is paying attention to where they are walking. I doubt this Sacred Sneaker will help us on our journey either.
It’s almost laughable when you think about the marketing angle of this shoe. Sad part is, the joke is on us……………
Your Devil’s AdvocateBuffalohair