Things That Matter

TSA Agent Accused Of Using Native American Woman’s Braids As ‘Reins’ And Says ‘Giddyup!’

A Native American says she’s “angry, humiliated” after a TSA agent grabbed her ponytails and told her to “Giddyup!” She is calling the agent out on Twitter. Tara Zhaabowkwe Houska is an indigenous rights activist who was returning home to Bemidji, Minnesota through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Aiport when a TSA agent described as a “middle-aged blonde woman” told her that she needed to pat down her traditional braids. Houska later recalled how “she pulled them behind my shoulders, laughed & said “giddyup!” as she snapped my braids like reins” in a tweet that has since gone viral. Houska says she is “angry, humiliated” because her hair is part of her spirit. “Your ‘fun’ hurt,” Houska indirectly told the agent through her followers.

When Houska told her that her actions dehumanized her, the agent replied to say, “Well it was just in fun, I’m sorry. Your hair is lovely.” Houska maintains that “that is NOT an apology and it is NOT okay.”

Tara Zhaabowkwe Houska tweeted about her uncomfortable, abusive experience with the federal employee.

CREDIT: @ZHAABOWEKWE / TWITTER

“Going through @TSA at @mspairport, the agent said she needed to pat down my braids,” the indigenous climate change activist tweeted, adding, “She pulled them behind my shoulders, laughed & said “giddyup!” as she snapped my braids like reins. My hair is part of my spirit. I am a Native woman. I am angry, humiliated. Your “fun” hurt.”

Her followers are shocked. “What the f***??? I’m really sorry this happened to you,” tweeted one doctor.  Several Indigenous folks have offered their prayers to Houska, praying that “a balm wash over you whenever this incident comes to mind. Relax your shoulders. Feel your breathing, in and out over your upper lip. I will DM you. This must never happen again.” Non-native folks are also chiming in to express their horror.What the actual f***? I’m not native anything, and I’d find that seriously inappropriate just based on decency. I can only imagine what it’s like for a Native American to experience this! Disgusting behavior on that woman’s part,” tweeted one Mika Johnson.

Houska is highlighting how harmful it is when aggressors claim their racism is “just in fun.”

CREDIT: @KaitlinCurtice / TWITTER

When I informed the middle-aged blonde woman who had casually used her authority to dehumanize and disrespect me, she said “Well it was just in fun, I’m sorry. Your hair is lovely.” <— that is NOT an apology and it is NOT okay,” Houska followed up in a separate tweet. “Humiliating and demeaning other people is not fun. It’s an abuse of power. The ‘I’m joking,’ ‘it’s all in fun’ stuff is garbage talk,” added NBC journalist Margaret Larson.

Other’s are saying that this is “white privilege at its worst.” Not all middle-aged white folk are this tone-deaf. Well, if they didn’t grow up in America. One Copenhagen white man was shocked, tweeting, “The US society REALLY have some serious problems respecting people of colour or just being different. I really hope the US can get to a point where this is not OK. It is white privilege at its worst.”

In the end, Houska is being offered endless support by empaths in her feed.

CREDIT: TARA ZHAABOWEKWE HOUSKA / FACEBOOK

The MSP Airport responded to her now-viral tweet to say, “We are so sorry to hear about your experience, Tara, and we’ll send this tweet along to @TSA leadership for follow-up. We’d also be happy to file a formal complaint on your behalf, if you DM us your contact information.” Tara responded to inform the official account that direct messaging isn’t available on their account but offered her email address, along with a curt, “Thank you for responding.” TSA’s publicity control Twitter account (AskTSA) also responded to the tweet to say, “We regret to hear that you had a bad experience at the security checkpoint. If you’re willing, please DM your email address, so that we may gather more details.”

“I’m so sorry you were treated that way, very grateful for your activism, and admire your compassion toward the numbskull TSA agent, wishing simply for better training as a remedy, you are a better person than many of us.  Love kindness & mad respect to you,” tweeted one follower. “Disgusting. This goes beyond unprofessional and directly to demeaning, humiliating and disgusting. Your employee needs to apologize publicly and be disciplined,” another horrified follower tweeted. 

Many are demanding this woman be fired. We’ll continue to update this story as it develops.

READ: A Woman’s Obsession With Hot Cheetos Just Got Her Into Some Hot Water With TSA

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A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Culture

A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Jon G. Fuller / VW PICS / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It is important to be a responsible tourist. This means following rules, acting responsibly, and not violating sacred places. That is something one tourist learned the hard way when she climbed the Pyramid of Kukulkán in Chichén Itzá.

Here’s the video of a tourist running down the steps of the Pyramid of Kukulkán.

The Pyramid of Kukulkán is one of the most iconic examples of Pre-Hispanic architecture and culture in Mesoamerica. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico. In 2017, more than 2 million visitors descended on the site.

Of course, #LadyKukulkan started to trend on Twitter.

You know that Twitter was ready to start calling out this woman for her actions. According to Yucatán Expat Life Magazine, the woman was there to honor her husband’s dying wish. The woman, identified as a tourist from Tijuana, wanted to spread her husband’s ashes on the top of the pyramid, which it seems that she did.

The video was a moment for Mexican Twitter.

Not only was she arrested by security when she descended, but the crowd was also clearly against her. Like, what was she even thinking? It isn’t like the pyramid is crawling with tourists all over it. She was the only person climbing the pyramid, which is federally owned and cared for.

The story is already sparking ideas for other people when they die.

“Me: (to my parents) Have you read about #ladykukulkan?
My Dad: Yes! (to my mom) When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the National Palace so they call you “Lady Palace,” sounds better, no?” wrote @hania_jh on Twitter.

READ: Mexico’s Version Of Burning Man Became A COVID-19 Super-Spreader Event Thanks To U.S. Tourists

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A Brazilian Photographer Is Documenting Indigenous Tribes In The Amazon

Culture

A Brazilian Photographer Is Documenting Indigenous Tribes In The Amazon

ricardostuckert / Instagram

Indigenous tribes are the most important connection between man and nature. These tribes have lived off the land before modern society and many have never interacted with modern society. Ricardo Stuckert is going through and documenting the indigenous Amazonian tribes in Brazil.

Ricardo Stuckert is photographing indigenous tribespeople in the Brazilian Amazon.

The indigenous community is something sacred that most people agrees should be protected. They are more connected to the land than we are. Their customs and traditions are more ingrained in this world than ours are and it is so important to protect them.

The indigenous community of Brazil has been subjected to horrible attacks and conditions from the Brazilian government.

One of the most widespread attacks against the indigenous Brazilians living in the Amazon has been for the land. President Jair Bolsonaro has tried to take land away from the indigenous communities to allow for logging and mining. A bill he sent to the congress sought to exploit the land for commercial purposes, even legalizing some of the attacks we have seen on indigenous people since President Bolsonaro took power.

Stuckert wants to preserve the indigenous culture and customs through photos.

“I think it is important to disseminate Brazilian culture and show the way that native peoples live today,” Stuckert told DailyMail. “In 1997, I started to photograph the Amazon and had my first contact with the native people of Brazil. Since then, I have tried to show the diversity and plurality of indigenous culture, as well as emphasize the importance of the Indians as guardians of the forest. There are young people who are being born who have never seen or will see an Indian in their lives.”

The photographer believes that using photography is the best way to share culture.

“I think that photography has this power to transpose a culture like this to thousands of people,” Stuckert told DailyMail. “The importance of documentary photojournalism is to undo stigmas and propagate a culture that is being lost. We need to show the importance of indigenous people to the world, for the protection of our forests.”

You can see all of Stuckert’s photos on his Instagram.

Stuckert’s work to documented the indigenous community is giving people an insight into a life many never see. Brazil is home to about 210 million people with around 1 million having indigenous heritage. The diverse indigenous community of Brazil is something important to showcase and that’s what Stuckert is doing.

READ: Indigenous Photographer Diego Huerta’s Photos Of Oaxaca’s Indigenous People Celebrates Their Beauty

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