Exploitation of Indian Culture

1086 WordsNov 6, 20085 Pages
30 January 2008 Exploitation of Indian Culture Nora Naranjo-Morse’s poem, “Mud Woman’s First Encounter with the World of Money and Business” portrays the internal struggle of Mud Woman, a contemporary Native Indian woman attempting to balance the traditions and ideals of her native culture with the outside consumer culture. When Mud Woman sells her art to a outside gallery owner, she comes to a realization that she may be exacerbating the commercialization and exploitation of her own Pueblo culture. The poem begins with an elaborate description of the character's artwork. As Mud Woman presents her artwork to a non-Indian gallery owner, one can interpret that her work has a deep sentimental and traditional value.…show more content…
The gallery owner has a preconceived notion of what Native American artwork should look like; presumably artwork that has not changed or evolved from “traditional Indian” artwork. The gallery owner does not realize that although the Mud Woman's art work is innovative and original, it may still be traditional Indian artwork. She is only concerned “whether or not Mud Woman's work would be a profitable venture (lines 39-40)”. The owner does not have a true appreciation for the work and is only concerned with the works potential to sell. She says that she would most likely not be able to sell the work, “especially since no one knows who [she is]” (line 46). The gallery owner again makes it a point to alienate the Indian culture and suggest that non-Indian consumers would not be familiar with her work. The owner claims that if she is able to sell her work, that she would be able to say that she “discovered her”; implying that she is unknown and in a sense does not exist outside the Indian culture. The gallery owner seems apathetic toward the importance of the art to the Mud Woman and to the Indian culture as she “quickly scribbling the needed information to make the gallery's check valuable”(lines 51-52). Mud woman hesitantly exchanges the work for a seemingly small amount of money. Mud Woman feels exploited and realizes that her artwork, and ultimately her culture, holds no respect in this consumer

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