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Hair blog

I listened to today's episode of Revision Quest for the first time from the U.S. Thank goodness for the internet and keeping me linked to Canada and the CBC. As I listened today, I remembered how much fun I had working on the hair episode. There were a lot of laughs writing and recording the sketches and working with the producers to put the episode together. A lot of times when we decide on topics for the show, we run into the question of whether or not there is enough content to fill a half-hour episode. And almost every time we find there is usually too much content. That was the case with the Hair episode.

Although the topic seemed pretty generic at first, it became obvious that the length of a Native person's hair does have a significant effect on how mainstream culture views the quote, unquote "realness" of a Native person. Nowadays, I quite often get the comment from non- Native people "You don't look Native", as if there was one standard by which all Native people should look like. 

Not surprisingly, I never heard that comment when my hair used to be past my shoulders. And since this is a Native myth busting show we all thought it was important to emphasise that long hair goes far beyond an esthetic choice. I think that was probably pretty surprising for a lot of people that are unfamiliar with the more minute details of the Native spiritual outlook. For example, on the reserve I grew up on, it was reinforced that whenever we cleaned our brushes or got a haircut, the leftover hair would have to be immediately burned due to the powerful nature of the hair. There was also the belief that if someone else got a hold of your hair they could use it to hurt you or use, for lack of an appropriate modern word, "bad medicine" against a person. So obviously the belief in the power of hair in Native culture goes much deeper than just looking good when it is windswept.

So, I applaud this episode's producer Waubgeshig Rice on putting together a very entertaining and informative episode. I also look forward to listening to next week's episode of Revision Quest, mostly because I am so proud of the show but also to keep me connected to my peeps back in Canada. Thanks for listening everyone. I'll talk to you next week from sunny LA.

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