Dear NonNatives: Nothing is your spirit animal. Not a person, place or thing. Nothing is your spirit animal. You do not get one. Spirit animals derive from Anishinaabe and other tribes deeply held religious beliefs. It is a sacred, beloved process that is incredibly secret. You as a NonNative can say “X is my spirit animal” but as an Anishinaabe woman I hear "I'm a ignorant asshole." There are better words. If you want to say X is my spirit animal, don't. Try "Patronus" or "Muse." or "Inspiration" NONE OF WHICH MISAPPROPRIATE LIVING CULTURES. NonNatives who think I'm mean for picking on them for saying "X is my spirit animal" will receive an apology when the continent is returned.
I even go after other Natives & Indigenous people who misuse the word. It is tribal specific, like head-dresses and Kachinas. And when a Native person tells you to please stop saying "__ is my spirit animal" the proper thing is to get over the defensiveness, apologize, AND THEN STOP SAYING "____ IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL." Not argue, defend your shitty cultural appropriation or mock anyone.
The pushback against "Don't say '__ is my spirit animal'" comes from a NonNative belief that Indigenous Culture is for their consumption. NonNatives get furious when Natives say that "Hey, our culture and spiritual beliefs are not for you, no matter what," I've had whites yell at me like I smacked their white babies when I've said "I am not going to tell you." See thing is, NonNatives take take take. So greedy. You take our land, our languages, our blood, our babies, now you want me to guide you through our beliefs and cultures?
I’ve been called racist for saying NonNatives shouldn't use "X is my spirit animal" by a guy who said he'd wear a headress & do a raindance. Like, "dude, you are the fucking problem." You are settler colonial privilege writ large. Then another guy said "hey people appropriate Jewish stuff & it doesn't bother me so why are you upset?" and I just want to jump off a cliff.
All the white people lashing out and cracking jokes or just straight up insulting me for "please don't use spirit animal" is telling. These guys (it's mostly men) are not clever, funny, or edgy. They're the same assholes we all encountered as kids, except they never grew up. They think their shit is hilarious, or important, or worthwhile. It's not. No one thinks schoolyard bullies are the highlight of life.
Another fucking thing with these shitty defenders of using the term "spirit animals:" None of you fuckers do anything to save, protect or respect the animals whose spirits you claim. You don't support protecting their habitats or their lives. So fuck off with your entitled BS. I never ever see "spirit animal" thieves at Indigenous environmental efforts. Where are you fuckers when we're protesting Site C? Not Here.
Common pushback for white racism defenders is "oh so you alone think this huh?" No, you porta-potty head, I'm just one of many who speak out. Thing is, there are less Natives in the USA & Canada than JK Rowling has Twitter followers. So we suffer from hyper-invisible erasure. So yes, I am loud, & crude.I'm angry at 525 years of White-power-genocide and erasure of Native peoples. I will not be polite to willfully ignorant people. You can come lecture me after 95% of your population is obliterated, the survivors imprisoned & tortured, the children & cultures stolen. Till then, suck it up, fortify yourself, and realize maybe you're benefitting from genocide and our erasure if you aren't Native, Black or Black Native.
I would just like to thank all the folks, Native & NonNative alike, who are picking up the slack in the "spirit animals” discussion. Thank you! You folks are my rockstars, taking on defenders of cultural appropriation when I'm too sick to. As a disabled woman I REALLY appreciate that. So to everyone going “What The Fuck?” to all those whiners who really want to misuse a term, I salute you, You are all the best. Thank you!
This essay was collected from this twitter thread: https://twitter.com/CyborgN8VMari/status/758755500099940352 and various notes. If you like and want to support my work, share this article with attribution, and donate here: https://www.paypal.me/CyborgN8VMari