One of my favorite activities of late seems to be railing against the prevalence of "Native American"-themed swag that a certain demographic has recently been using to accessorize their MDMA and Chromeo sets (no thanks to you Urban Outfitters -- but reluctant semantic kudos for de-naming the line in question "Navajo"). Just in time for Halloween, along comes a blog that can neatly sum up these feelings, and do it in a constructive way. Please forward to your girlfriend frantically readying her dreamcatcher earrings.
Cherokee ("really!" as she asserts on her site) blogger Adrienne K. has assembled an ace 101 on why you can't dress up like another ethnic group on her blog Native Appropriations, which is pretty much devoted to the topic. Her rationale (which comes structured as a conversation with a feather-sporting individual): you're promoting a wildly stereotypical image of actual Native Americans, for one. Your godawful headdress is mocking someone's spiritual rites, for two. Additional reasons are unnecessary, but they include the fact that you're basically walking around in blackface.
On a local note: Asterisk Magazine, I loved your recent Style Issue. But this single paragraph was enough to halt me in my see-through clothing raptures:
Just when you thought we took everything from American Indians, these Navajo prints are popping up on handbags and jackets everywhere. What may be culturally insensitive is also pretty sharp when done right. This is nothing new, but the urban arena is really just getting on board, and huge turquoise jewelry is surely close behind.
Who let that one slip through? Ick.
While we're at it, you might want to check out this post by queer Chicana blogger April's Eye on (white-and-)blackfacing it on Dia de los Muertos.