OKLAHOMA CITY – A single picture of Governor’s Mary Fallin’s daughter, Christina Fallin, has infuriated Native Americans around the country.
We are used to seeing Native American men, warriors wear head dresses.
Then there’s Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s daughter, Christina Fallin’s, vision. A vision she posed on Facebook Friday. She’s wearing a mock Native American head dress.
“Yes, it’s racist. It’s not anything else other than racist,” said Antonia Belindo.
Belindo, is a former Kiowa tribal princess. We caught up with the 21-year-old between her classes at the University of Oklahoma. She’d just seen Fallin’s photo and found it offensive. Not all Native American tribes wear head dresses, but in her tribe, they are war medals of honor. Those who didn’t earn them, are not permitted to touch them.
Belindo did have the honor of wearing her grandfather, Nelson BigBow’s, head dress one time as she represented the tribe as Princess.
“That encapsulates all the people who have gone before me to fight for my freedom,” said Belindo.
It was a special moment for her as a warrior placed it on her head, praying the whole time in Kiowa.
“It’s a very moving moment just to have it placed on you,” said Belindo.
To see the Governor’s daughter wearing fake feathers for fun, “It’s almost something to be laugh at, but unfortunately, I’m not laughing,” said Belindo.
Neither are other Native Americans. Hundreds of comments poured onto Fallin’s Facebook page..
One man wrote, “I’M NATIVE. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.”
Fallin followed up with a letter saying in part “Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things.”
“That gets me boiling because I’m just like, um, innocently adorn ourselves? I’m sorry. I don’t recall ever innocently adorning myself anytime I decided to wear a piece of traditional clothing. We refer to it as regalia. It’s not something innocent,” said Belindo. “If we want you to look pretty, I’ll make you some more sparkly earrings.”
Further infuriating Native Americans, Fallin wrote she has a “… genuine spiritual connection to Native American values.”
E-mails poured into our newsroom.
Arthur Medicine Eagle wrote, “I find it repulsive that she tries to express her concern to justify her ignorant actions.”
For Belindo, it feels like a slap in the face, and she has a message for the Governor’s daughter.
“You obviously do not know the deeper and deeper connections and understand the deeper and deeper connections of being associated with this culture.”
Below is her response to the internet critics.