Monday, May 02, 2005

YMCA Indian Princesses and Y-Guides: Ten Cultural Respect Guidelines

My daughter and I will be completing our third year in the "Y-Indian Princesses" here in North Carolina. It's a fantastic program for getting dads and their children to spend more time together in ways that do not normally occur. I highly recommend it. (Now you know from where my "Dancing Ox" nom de cyber derives!) Read more . . .

"Y-Indian Princesses" has been under fire in some circles for promulgating stereotypes about Native Americans. While some of these critics went too far in their assessment, their concerns are not entirely unwarranted. Someone posted this thoughtful page, entitled "YMCA Indian Princesses and Y-Guides: Ten Cultural Respect Guidelines," in response. It offers some helpful suggestions for dealing with the issues raised by "Indian Princesses." Unfortunately, the national YMCA decided to scrap this program entirely. Their Web site shows that the Y-Guides program has been replaced with "Y-Adventure Guides." Where "Y-Indian Princesses" was charming and unique, "Y-Adventure Guides" is as cleaned up and devoid of character as a Soviet-style government complex.

The author of "Ten Cultural Respect Guidelines" argues that it would have been better to fix the Native American focus of Y-Guides and make it a learning opportunity, rather than shut it down. That's spot on. Our local Y is continuing the Y-Indian Guides program (and is tremendously successful, in terms of exploding membership) and after my cursory research here I'm glad that it continues here.
Post a Comment

Goodreads Feed