Elizabeth LaPensee, an Anishinaabe and Metis game developer and designer, snapped the picture and posted it to her Facebook wall.

A marketing campaign by a German company at the Gaming Developers Conference in San Francisco used a tepee and, reportedly, non-native women dressed in faux Native American attire (Photo courtesy of ICTMN).

A marketing campaign by a German company at the Gaming Developers Conference in San Francisco used a tepee and, reportedly, non-native women dressed in faux Native American attire (Photo courtesy of ICTMN).

It showed, reported Indian Country Today, two of several women hired by Glispa, a German company, to dress in faux Native American attire at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, standing in front of a tepee.

LaPensee’s friend, Melissa Bennett, a Umatilla, Nez Perce, Diné and Lakota writer, saw the Facebook post and emailed the company questioning the display. She received a direct response from CEO Gary Lin.

In his defiant email, which can be read at length on Bennett’s website (womanstoryteller.com), Lin, who wrote that he is Chinese-American, declared he understands “the sensitivities around race and culture fully” and that since he founded the company more than a decade ago, Bennett’s complaint is the first he has received concerning his co-opting of Native American cultures.

Lin goes on to declare that he has a bevy of Native American friends, seeing that he was born in the Midwest.

“It felt like another example of a non-Indian person telling an Indian person what should and shouldn’t be offensive about their own cultures,” Bennett wrote.

According to Simon Moya-Smith’s story at ICTMN, LaPensee hoped Lin would be understanding, but instead was “unapologetic.”

LaPensée also wondered what part of the hyper-sexualizing of Native American women falls under his definition of Native American cultural values, ICTMN reported.

- Vince Devlin

This entry was posted on Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 11:37 am and is filed under racism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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