Native Village
Youth and Education news
March 1, 2010     Volume 4

Sucking the Quileute Dry

Washington: "Twilight" is a series of vampire chronicles written by Stephanie Meyer. In "Twilight," the Quileute are Indians whose (fictional) ancient treaty changes young Quileute males into vampire-fighting wolves.

The storyline has made all things labeled Quileute wildly popular. Quileute "hoodies" are being sold along with Quileute charms, tattoo jewelry, and more. The earnings from "Twilight" merchandise is nearly $1,000,000,000. 

Despite all the hype, however,"Twilight's" effect on the tiny Quileute Nation is largely ignored.  The Quileute tribe has received little payment from others' profits, yet half the tribal members live in poverty. Worse, their culture and tribal laws are disrespected.

While"Twilight" products often include the Quileute name, the Quileute tribe itself is largely excluded from he commercial empire. But his is probably  legal.  Except in specific cases, the law does not protect native peoples’ collective cultural property. It only protects items claiming a tribal origin.  These products must, indeed, be made by that tribe.

Meanwhile, a tour company hauls bus loads of " "Twilight" fans onto the 1.5 square mile Quileute reservation near La Push.

MSN.com recently apologized to the tribe for videotaping a "Twilight" virtual tour. The video entered the reservation, and without tribal permission, began filming. The trespassed on a tribal cemetery to film Quileute graves, including those of esteemed tribal leaders. These images were set to macabre music and posted on MSN.com.

The Quileute contacted NBC and explained the tribal laws that govern Quileute territory. One laws says that burial grounds and religious ceremonies are “sacred and not to be entered. " Had MSN treated the tribe as a sovereign government, it might not have broken that rule.

MSN.com quickly removed the Quileute images.

The Quileute are eager to share their tribal culture. When hordes of “ "Twilight" fans showed up in 2008, the Quileute, as a sovereign Indian nation, could have closed its reservation. But tribal members chose not to do so. They want to participate in how their culture and property is treated. They also believe that respecting tribal sovereignty could bridge cultural gaps between Indian communities and outsiders.

Quileute For Kids
     The real Quileute Indians are not werewolves, but they do consider wolves their tribal ancestors. http://www.bigorrin.org/quileute_kids.htm

Quileute Nation:
http://www.quileutenation.org/

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Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/

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