Essay Exploitation of Indian Culture

1092 Words Nov 12th, 2008 5 Pages
30 January 2008 Exploitation of Indian Culture Nora Naranjo-Morse’s poem, “Mud Woman’s First Encounter with the World of Money and Business” portrays the internal struggle of Mud Woman, a contemporary Native Indian woman attempting to balance the traditions and ideals of her native culture with the outside consumer culture. When Mud Woman sells her art to a outside gallery owner, she comes to a realization that she may be exacerbating the commercialization and exploitation of her own Pueblo culture. The poem begins with an elaborate description of the character's artwork. As Mud Woman presents her artwork to a non-Indian gallery owner, one can interpret that her work has a deep sentimental and traditional value. …show more content…
She seems both nervous and anxious for the gallery owners approval and respect. This anxiety is rooted by the womans struggle with a deeper internal conflict. Mud Woman is conflicted by her feelings about selling her meaningful artwork to a non-Indian consumer culture. Naranjo-Morse displays the differences between the Indian culture and the outside culture through the elaborate characterization of the gallery owner. Naranjo-Morse describes: “the gallery owner, peering from behind fashionable designed bifocals, examined each piece with an awareness Mud Woman know very little of” (lines 13-17). This portrayal of the gallery owner suggests that she is not from Mud Womans familiar Indian culture, but rather a consumer society. The Mud Woman feels uncomfortable in this outside culture of which she ‘knew very little of’ (line 16). The gallery owner then questions the woman’s identity and family: “The owner cleared her throat, asking:"First of all dear, do you have a résumé? You know, something written that would identify you to the public. Who is your family?”(lines 18-21). The gallery owner further displays the alienation of the Indian culture from the gallery owner's consumer culture. The owner refers to to Mud Woman as 'dear', in a patronizing tone possibly suggesting her view that her own consumer culture is somehow superior to the Indian culture. As the gallery owner looks over the

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