Native American Group Takes Issue With Yale Polynesian Dance Troupe
A Polynesian dance group at Yale University is under fire right now simply for existing. The group, called Shaka, is an all-female Polynesian dance troupe started four years ago at the university. Suddenly, the Association of Native Americans at Yale (ANAAY) has decided it's a significant problem.
Apparently, the group condemned Shaka for "sexualizing and homogenizing Native [American] peoples, misrepresenting and erasing histories and political realities, and attempting to depoliticize inherently political culture and communities under colonial subjugation," according to the Yale Daily News.
Part of the problem for ANAAY is that a large number of the Shaka members aren't Polynesian, thus it is unable to claim "to do Native cultural practice." In other words, they can get everything else 100 percent perfect, but it will be offensive because of their DNA.
However, Shaka has tried to take sensitivity into account. As the Yale Daily News reported: "According to their statement, Shaka performs only hula ‘auana because the group recognizes the special meaning of hula kahiko. The group also performs Ori Tahiti, a Tahitian dance, but the group said it only dances in that style to songs whose meaning it has researched or learned from instructors."
Shaka has reportedly been trying to work with ANAAY for some time to find a way to coexist, but since ANAAY has already said "there is no room for compromise," there appears to be no use in trying.