by Nathan Greppi

One of the new "sins" imposed in the public debate by the extreme third-worldist left is that of so-called "cultural appropriation": that is, when whites seem to imitate in some way the customs and traditions of non-European ethnic groups.

This has led, for example, to numerous attacks on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over photos from 2001 in which he painted his face at a party to look like a dark-skinned man. Or, to take another example: in July 2020 the rugby team "Washington Redskins" received increasing pressure to change their name, as the one they had called to mind Native Americans. In February of this year, they renamed themselves "Washington Commanders".

On this last front - that of Native Americans - recently a comic book series by "Marvel" and a video game published by "Sony" have been targeted. In the first case, this happened because one of the characters's name recalls the real-life figure of Pocahontas, also made famous by the 1995 Disney animated film of the same name.

The King Conan comic book

The facts are as follows: in the third issue of the miniseries "King Conan", based on the novel of the same name by Robert E. Howard and which debuted in December 2021, appeared among the characters a provocative princess with supernatural powers named Matoaka, which was also the first name of Pocahontas. A Native American who lived at the turn of the late 1500s and the first half of the 1600s, Pocahontas married an English man and moved to London, where she became very famous.

The accusation made against the two authors, Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar, is that they have sexualized the figure of Pocahontas, who in the oral stories of the American Indians is one of the symbols of the oppression suffered following the arrival of the British on the continent. According to the legends, Pocahontas was only 12-13 years old when she was first taken in marriage and then imprisoned and raped by the colonizers.

Reactions on social media to Princess Matoaka's appearance have been quite violent. "She was a REAL LITTLE GIRL - to do this her, to us, over and over again... i am just at a loss. disgusting. does she not deserve rest? reclamation? honor? you colonizers make me vom", wrote Kelly Lynne D'Angelo, a television writer belonging to the native Iroquois people, on Twitter.

Seeing how the situation was escalating, Aaron himself had to intervene, apologizing in a statement in his personal newsletter:

In King Conan #3, I made the ill-considered decision to give a character the name of Matoaka, a name most closely associated with the real-life Native American figure, Pocahontas. This new character is a supernatural, thousand-year-old princess of a cursed island within a world of pastiche and dark fantasy and was never intended to be based on anyone from history.

I should have better understood the name's true meaning and resonance and recognized it wasn't appropriate to use it. I understand the outrage expressed by those who hold the true Matoaka's legacy dear, and for all of this and the distress it's caused, I apologize. As part of that apology, I've already taken what I was paid for the issue and donated it to the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center. The character's name and appearance will be adjusted for the rest of this mini-series and in all digital and collected editions.

The videogame Horizon Forbidden West

A similar case happened in mid-February, following the release of the video game Horizon Forbidden West. Developed by a Dutch company affiliated with the Sony group and a sequel to the 2017 title Horizon Zero Dawn, it is set in a post-apocalyptic future dominated by robotic animals, where many humans have regressed to tribal and primitive stages.

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Some videogame critics have accused the developers of having been inappropriately inspired by the traditional costumes of American Indians for the clothing of the characters and, in particular, of the protagonist Aloy, "guilty" of being a white girl who would dress like a native.

Stacey Henley, director of the specialized site "The Gamer", wrote that the first title of the saga "only had two serious faults for me; the story was weak, and the whole game engaged in Native American cosplay. Forbidden West just needed to overcome those faults, but it succumbs to them both".

Speaking explicitly of cultural appropriation as a "sin" is "Kotaku", among the main publications of the sector, where we read that "Horizon Forbidden West doesn’t entirely wash itself of the sins of its past". The article went so far as to define "weird" the fact that the protagonist is a white woman, as opposed to many characters of color, and to say that the final "smacks of colonialist overtones".

Yet, despite all this speculation spiced with anti-Western ideology, in reality the customs and traditions of Aloy and her tribe, the Nora, seem to have little to do with Native Americans. John Gonzalez, narrative director of Horizon Zero Dawn, in responding to allegations made against him back in 2017, in ainterview with "Vice" explained that they had been inspired by many different peoples: "We weren't looking for inspiration from one particular group, and we cast the net widely to look at cultures, tribal cultures, around the world, and also throughout history. That's why a lot of the people talk about the Nora as being like Vikings, or why there are visual elements reminiscent of Celtic pictographs. So, inspiration came from a lot of different places".

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A freelance journalist, he has written for the newspapers Mosaico , Cultweek and Il Giornale Off . Member of the Council of the UGEI (Union of Young Jews of Italy). He was editor-in-chief of HaTikwa and communications officer of the US-Italy Global Affairs Forum .