Walmart Takes Twitter Beatdown Over ‘Fat Girl Costumes;’ Pocahottie Still OK's 'fat girl costumes' page is one of the all-time lowlights of e-commerce.’s ‘fat girl costumes’ page is one of the all-time lowlights of e-commerce.


Steve Russell, Indian Country Today


They say that making fun of morbid obesity is the last socially acceptable form of prejudice.  And it’s hard to defend treating people badly over a serious health issue or, worse, destroying the self-image of children over something they may not be able to control.

Walmart got taken to task by the blog Jezebel for hawking a “Fat Girl” category of Halloween costumes.  The social media firestorm about adults so childishly ridiculing un-skinny women was heartening for those of us who were wondering what is next—a “Diabetes Department?”

In the same post, Jezebel also complained of racism, pointing out that Indians have also been put up again as objects of ridicule for Halloween in a stunning line of stereotypes, pocahottie for the females and Tonto for the males.

A costume that really says 'HOW! Can you possibly not see the racism here?' Source:
A costume that really says ‘HOW! Can you possibly not see the racism here?’ Source:

Walmart was slow to react, much slower than Twitter, but they finally took the “Fat Girl” section down (technically, it redirects to “plus size”) and came up with an appropriate Twitter auto-reply.

Customer: “Congrats on your ‘Fat Girl Costumes’ section.  Always keepin it classy, eh @Walmart?”

New Auto-reply: “This never should have been on our site.  It is unacceptable, and we apologize.”

Notice the straightforward nature of the apology.  No claim of tradition involving ridicule of fat people, especially girls or women, and no claim that those being ridiculed should understand it as an “honor.”  No hedging that they didn’t mean to poke fun at females with medical problems that cause the look being ridiculed.

The betting window is open on what they’ll say about the “Native American” costumes.  Making an issue of the body type of girls and women is bad, and those involved ought to be ashamed.  Does it ever occur to the same people that Indians are neither Pocahottie nor Tonto, and the endless bombardment with stereotypes might be bad for them as well?

Ridicule of fat people is a socially acceptable prejudice that ought not to be accepted.  But from Walmart to the antics of the fans at FedEx Field, Indians have caricature put in their non-warpainted faces every day.  Sambo and the Frito Bandido were retired years ago, and the Fat Girls insult disappeared instantly.

Chief Wahoo lives on, and the most popular sport in the U.S. tolerates a team name that is a racial slur.  Mockery of fat people is not the last socially acceptable prejudice, and a Twitter storm of righteous indignation just proved that.  Mockery of American Indians is.



Obama Visits Indian Country in ND, Follow Along With ICTMN’s Twitter



Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today



On Friday the 13th, President Barack Obama will be visiting tribal Leaders and other tribal members during his visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. In light of this historic day, we know that you in Indian country will be there in person or spirit.

We want to hear from you tomorrow on Twitter.

So, if you want to join us or tweet to us, correspondent @VinceSchilling will be listening and tweeting live from our @IndianCountry twitter account. All day long, we are asking for your comments, pictures, thoughts and tweets.

We will be tweeting using the #PrezRezVisit hashtag.

So whether you are on site in North Dakota, watching coverage in Alaska or Florida or blogging from San Francisco, ICTMN wants to hear your thoughts and see your pictures from the day. We will be retweeting you and might include among the day’s best tweets in our follow up article.

Remember, use the #PrezRezVisit hashtag.



15 Twitter Accounts Every Native Should Follow


Source: ICTMN, August 9, 2013

It’s Friday, a day also known in Twitterland as FollowFriday, when many faithful Tweeters take a moment to give a shoutout to the accounts they think others should follow. We hang out on Twitter quite a bit as @indiancountry (and there’s @ICTMN_Arts as well, kind of a kid-brother feed) and we could go on and on about all the great people Tweeting news, views, humor and miscellanea relevant to Native readers. But on this occasion we’ll keep it to 15 — here are our must-reads and must-follows:

1. Sherman Alexie @Sherman_Alexie

FILE UNDER: Native Cognoscenti

Indian country’s master Tweeter, Sherman Alexie has a ratio of original tweets to retweets-of-others that is off the charts — this is some real talk from a guy who has something to say every day and it’s often provocative. The fact that he’s a phenomenal, award-winning author helps. You know — the words thing.

RECENT TWEET: “Santa Fe leads the world in White People Trying to Look a Little Bit Indian.”

2. Wab Kinew @WabKinew

FILE UNDER: Native Cognoscenti

Just your average award-winning journalist who’s also an award-winning hip-hop artist. He hosted 8th Fire on CBC and has a degree in economics.

RECENT TWEET: “I am going for a long run now. I hope when I come back Canada will be a country which respects Anishinaabe people. A long run indeed”

3. Gyasi Ross @BigIndianGyasi

FILE UNDER: Native Cognoscenti

Lawyer, author, filmmaker, father, and the mad genius behind ICTMN’s Thing About Skins — Gyasi tweets a mixture of Native calls to action, political insight, banter with his influential friends in Indian country, and fond memories of growing up rez.

RECENT TWEET: “Our communities used to raise kids and shame parents that didn’t contribute to that uprbinging. Now we pretend we don’t see it.”

4. Lisa Charleyboy @UrbanNativeGirl

FILE UNDER: Native Cognoscenti

Toronto-based Lisa Charleyboy is the jet-setting maven of Native style, cool and entertainment. If it’s hip, hot, and Canadian-indigenous, she’s on it, and she never stops working. She’s the Native… Oprah-Gwyneth Paltrow-Martha Stewart? Something like that. Arch-enemy: Gluten.

RECENT TWEET: “So all you need to be a successful fashion blogger is to look like a model, have $ like a billionaire, and have a photog boyfriend? Easy.”

5. Jeff Corntassel @JeffCorntassel

FILE UNDER: Native Cognoscenti

Corntassel, a college professor, follows the news and sends out important links with thoughtful commentary. A walking and talking — and tweeting — cheat sheet.

RECENT TWEET: “Decolonization starts w realization: your vision for the future is radically different from those encroaching on your homelands”

6. Michelle Shining Elk @mshiningelk

FILE UNDER: Native Cognoscenti

She calls herself “a casting director for film, television, dance + print w/focus on American Indian talent only,” — her tweets keep you posted on current events in the entertainment industry, and much more. You get a little bit of everything with Michelle — which is the whole point of Twitter.

RECENT TWEET: “Seriously? The news is reporting on the outrage over Suri Cruise wearing heeled shoes. Why is this news?”

7. Idle No More @IdleNoMore4

FILE UNDER: News of the Struggle

Idle No More… you have heard of this, right? Tweets are a mixture of news links and networking — if you’re doing something Idle-No-More-ish in your community, the women behind this feed want to know about it and help spread the word.

RECENT TWEET: “If there are ACTIONS or events in your area related to: Indigenous issues, Environmental protection, Nation2Nation (treaty) etc. let us know”

8. Abiyomi Kofi @TheAngryIndian

FILE UNDER: News of the Struggle

Abiyomi Kofi tweets a smorgasbord of news and views on racism, colonialism, and injustice from his Afro-Indigenous perspective. These tweets serve as a reminder that the cause of indigenous rights and racial equality is a global effort.

RECENT TWEET: (sparring with another Tweeter) “Again, you assume that ‘truth’ is of European origin. That is cultural arrogance in spades. Europe is not the world.”

9. Indigeneity @Indigeneity

FILE UNDER: News of the Struggle

Straight-up news feed of stories of interest to Natives and indigenous peoples everywhere.

RECENT TWEET: “Mummified Maori head to be returned to NZ”

10. Adrienne K. @NativeApprops

FILE UNDER: Culture Watcher

The Native Appropriations blogger is always on the lookout for cultural wrongdoing in the public square. High-minded criticism you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand.

RECENT TWEET: “I’m trying to write a post that combines 200 million things I’ve been thinking about lately and it’s already not working. Trimming back.”

11. APACHE Skateboards @apachesk8boards

FILE UNDER: Culture Watcher

Douglas Miles is a gifted artist, and you’ll get a lot of that from his Tweets (which link to his Instagram and Tumblr blog) — but you’ll also get plenty of tough talk on issues of art, culture, and society. Everyone is fair game — if you’re Native and you’re doing it wrong, he’ll let you know.

RECENT TWEET: “Since when did Natives resort to using ‘authentic’ as some stamp of approval, are we sides of beef?”

12. Dee Jay NDN @DeeJayNDN

FILE UNDER: Culture Watcher

The voice of Turtle Island’s EDM heroes A Tribe Called Red doesn’t suffer fools — bring your half-baked ideas about race and culture onto his timeline and he will nail you for it. Repeatedly. You can practically hear him giggling as he demolishes ingrained bigotry and false equivalencies.

RECENT TWEET: “You’re right. Having to argue what’s important to your culture from someone NOT of the culture is a DUMB battle.”

13. @WhiteskinsOrg

FILE UNDER: Culture Watcher

Tirelessly fighting against the Washington NFL team’s racist name — an operation that may have begun as an effort to sell a few parody t-shirts is now the Twitter standard-bearer of a grassroots movement that is a topic of national debate.

RECENT TWEET: “can’t wait to see who’s the next high-profile personality to speak up against the Redskins racist name, quite an impressive list so far”

14. Ryan McMahon @RMComedy


Actually, since Ryan dove head-first into Idle No More, he’s not only about the funny-haha. But there’s still plenty of funny-haha. Plus he used his feed to publish “Pow Wow Shades of Gray,” a novella, delivered in installments, about people fooling around at pow wows. Delivered in tiny, tiny installments.

RECENT TWEET: “I smell like camp fire, hot dog water & bug spray. And, no, Cree women, that’s not a pickup line. I just got home from camp.”

15. Robohontas @robohontas


Part indigenous woman, part robot, part golden Barbie doll — we are not quite sure we understand what Robohontas is or wants to be, but she tweets good links and daily wise quotes from her blog. And we hope there is a Robohontas movie someday, with lots of action and ass-kicking. And we hope it is not produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

RECENT TWEET: “Robohontas’ Facebook Page – Can she get to 200 page “likes” by the end of the week? Currently at 192…”