'The Mandalorian' may never reveal Baby Yoda's true origins. But Native Americans already know.

  
Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 months ago  •  28 comments

By:   Simon Moya-Smith

'The Mandalorian' may never reveal Baby Yoda's true origins. But Native Americans already know.
There’s not a lot of Native pop culture content, so we make it ourselves or give something that exists an indigenous flavor — including your favorite meme.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


We can all agree that Baby Yoda is absolutely, tear-jerkingly adorable, right? But what you probably didn’t realize is that   Baby Yoda is indigenous   — or, in the outdated way of saying it, Native American. But to which tribe or nation does he belong? We’ll get to that.

Since Disney Plus introduced us to “The Baby Yoda Show” — excuse me, I mean, “The Mandalorian” — the big-eared, round-eyed, green ball of cuteness has inspired artwork, witty memes and GIFs the world over. Memes, GIFS and emojis are, of course, today’s hieroglyphics; They are how the internet generation has come to communicate with one another, especially when, really, there are no words. Sometimes a GIF of a shrugging Dr. House or a befuddled President Barack Obama perfectly communicates what words cannot — and any meme or GIF of Baby Yoda is clearly the highest form of said communication.

384

But in Indian country, Baby Yoda has struck a particular chord: His Adorableness has been the inspiration behind paintings, beaded patches, medallions, earrings and T-shirts made by indigenous folks in the U.S. and Canada, all in homage to the little guy.

So why, then, do Natives relate to Baby Yoda so deeply?

384

First, there’s a thing we do as Natives which has come to be known as “indigenization” which is when, inspired by art or pop culture, we give it an indigenous spin — something our communities can relate to, and that’s what we’ve done with Baby Yoda.

Indigenization is about representation: There isn’t a lot of media made for the indigenous community, let alone positive media made respectfully about indigenous people, unless we make it ourselves. There’s not a single mainstream TV sitcom about a Native family; there’s never been a cast member of Saturday Night Live who was Native. Whether on Netflix, HBO or Hulu, there’s just not a lot of Native content — so we make it ourselves, or give something indigenous flavor, as we have with Baby Yoda.

384

And we see a little — or even a lot — of our people in Baby Yoda. “When I see Baby Yoda, I see an indigenous baby at ceremony learning the wisdom of our ancestors, wisdom that has been passed down for thousands of years,” Tara Houska, an Ojibwe and diehard “Star Wars” fan, said.

Baby Yoda is each of us, when we were kids growing up at pow wows, protests, rallies, and marches, or he is today’s Native baby, learning the ways of the force, fumbling and eager, yet “not ready.” And, one day, babies are no longer babies, but learned adults, prepared to fight, to lead, to teach and to pass on the wisdom to the next generation.

384

In the meantime, while they’re still incredibly adorable bundles of indigenous goodness, like Baby Yoda — our tiny tots, which, at age five and under, is the absolute cutest, irresistible dance category at pow wows.

As soon as the pow wow emcee calls the category over the mic, babies in feathers and bustles and beads wobble to the center of the arena, then bounce to the beat of the drum, no footing at all, jelly for legs. Meanwhile, grandma, mom and aunty snap photos from the rim, and everyone waiting for fry bread are torn between losing their place in line or missing out one of the best parts of any pow wow anywhere.

In this case, move over Baby Yoda. Tiny tots have you beat every time.

And even if you’ve never been to a pow wow, just picture a cute kid doing cute kid things, and then just imagine that cute kid is Baby Yoda.

But the real question for Native people isn’t whether Baby Yoda is one of us — he is — but to which nation or tribe he belongs. The Ho-Chunk will tell you he’s Ho-Chunk. The Ojibwe will tell you he’s Ojibwe. I’m Oglala, so of course Baby Yoda is Oglala. Each indigenous fan can — and will — present their argument for why he’s more Diné (Navajo) or Tulalip or Choctaw or Cherokee and so on.

384

Regardless of what tribe or nation Baby Yoda is — again, he’s obviously Oglala, I can’t state this more clearly — he is incontrovertibly Native. Don’t even bother trying to argue this point.

And until Natives are included in the modern American narrative in pop culture — beyond, lest we forget, the fact that Carrie Fisher’s famed two-bunned hairstyle in “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope” was   inspired by the Hopi and their “squash blossom” loops   — outside of racist mascots and that tired, banal cowboys and Indians motif, we will continue to claim our icons where we find them and produce our own content.

So the next time that you watch “The Mandalorian,” just remember, the show is a Western and that kidnapped baby is indigenous. We know the narrative; we’ve seen it before. Plus those green ears are really just two big, beautiful Native braids. Once you see it, you can’t un-see it. (And if you can’t, well, just use The Force.)

Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
smarty_function_ntUser_is_admin: user_id parameter required
[]
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 months ago

Very unexpected. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
2  Tacos!    2 months ago

Baby Yoda (Disney is calling it "The Child") is an absolute sensation. Every time he comes on screen, my girls squeal a high-pitched noise that I think only the dog can truly appreciate. I wanted to get these for Christmas, but they don't come out until May.

71eaIj40y9L._SL1500_.jpg51-waW%2BXydL._SL1076_.jpg

71g5o4hOSzL._SL1500_.jpg

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Tacos! @2    2 months ago

I like the little one that is 3rd row second one in. 

 
 
 
Kavika
3  Kavika     2 months ago

Of course Baby Yoda is Ojibwe, everyone knows that...Geez. 

512

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1  MUVA  replied to  Kavika @3    2 months ago

No he is Gola definitely.  

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  MUVA @3.1    2 months ago

I'm not sure about that. He doesn't look anything like a Gola.384

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1.2  MUVA  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3.1.1    2 months ago

It’s the tribe my family came from in Liberia.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1.3  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  MUVA @3.1.2    2 months ago
It’s the tribe my family came from in Liberia.

Wow, that is really interesting. How did you find that out?

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @3    2 months ago
Of course Baby Yoda is Ojibwe, everyone knows that...Geez. 

Well, yeah Kavika. Everyone does know that! 

 
 
 
Kavika
3.2.1  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3.2    2 months ago
Well, yeah Kavika. Everyone does know that! 

Thanks for the confirmation sister. 

512

 
 
 
Kathleen
4  Kathleen    2 months ago

Looks like somebody is going to get rich.

 
 
 
MUVA
4.1  MUVA  replied to  Kathleen @4    2 months ago

I hope it's mejrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
4.1.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  MUVA @4.1    2 months ago

Kathleen, I think they are rich already. Maybe they'll share? LOL. 

 
 
 
Kathleen
4.1.2  Kathleen  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1.1    2 months ago

That would be nice... 😁

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5    2 months ago

Maybe that is later in his life... but everyone knows that as a baby he grew wise being carried on a cradleboard

 
 
 
The People's Fish
6  The People's Fish    2 months ago

This article is highly offensive as Yoda is now a sign of the Alt-Right since the 2016 election.

384

 
 
 
Kavika
6.1  Kavika   replied to  The People's Fish @6    2 months ago

The last time the alt right messed with Indians they got their asses kicked. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
6.1.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @6.1    2 months ago

You know Kavika, that the alt right tries to steal what is good, but the power is not with them. 

 
 
 
Kavika
6.1.2  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.1.1    2 months ago

As Yoda would say, the medicine is with us. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
6.1.3  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @6.1.2    2 months ago

He did say that at the press conference!

 
 
 
Kavika
6.1.4  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.1.3    2 months ago

don't tell anyone but Yoda baby is a Midewiwin. 

Of course he said it at the press conference...

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
6.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  The People's Fish @6    2 months ago

Yoda knows about this, and he spoke to the press earlier today. He said:

Bad the Alt Right is. Want nothing I to be with. Represnt only good things I do. 
 
 
 
The People's Fish
7  The People's Fish    2 months ago

While Kavika and Perrie continue to shamefully attemt to racially appropriate Yoda i was able to find the truth.

This is Gary Coleman's dad.

384

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
7.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  The People's Fish @7    2 months ago

Can't be. Yoda would never be interested in gold Jewelry. He is beyond earthly wants. 

 
 
 
The People's Fish
7.1.1  The People's Fish  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @7.1    2 months ago

Yoda is a pimp, runs a full stable of many ho. He even smoked crack once with Rick James.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
7.1.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  The People's Fish @7.1.1    2 months ago

I heard that once too,,,, I didn't want to believe it, but then I saw this in the post office.

384

 
 
 
The People's Fish
7.1.3  The People's Fish  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @7.1.2    2 months ago

That's what happens when you don't ask the padawan's age before stabbing them with the light-saber.

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online

JBB


41 visitors