Sunday, 18 March 2012

Costuming of Red Power United

What do the people wear and why? When you are out protesting you know people will be looking at you. In fact, you hope they will because you are there to draw attention to something you see as important. So then the costumes that people wear while protesting often carries as much of a message as the slogans they stand by. So let us take a look at the variety of costuming seen in Native Self-government Groups Protests.

Red Power United
Red Power United define their actions as direct action and even offer non-violent direct action training. While they are not solely focused on Native Self-government rights they do highly support it.

red power, native rights group, protests, protesters, g20, allan gardens, toronto, city, life
Courtesy of Toronto City Life

This is a small group of Red Power United protesters. Interestingly enough, the writer of the blog of Toronto City Life actually described them as a militant group.
First thing to notice, the colour red as a theme which is not too surprising as their groups name is RED Power United however it does have other connotations. 
The colour red could also be in reference to the old derogatory term for native people: redskins. If this is the case, this group would be taking what was meant to be slang and hurtful towards their people and utilizing it to define themselves, to punctuate their solidarity. 
As any elementary student is taught, red can also be a representation of blood. As many Native protest groups do focus on the pains of their ancestors, I do not believe that I would be out of placing in saying that the red shirts could symbolize the pain, hardships, and death of their ancestors and culture.
In terms of logistics, having a colour that protesters in your group often wear is useful because it can show your strength in numbers and allow protesters and bystanders to easily those fighting under your cause.  Red; in particular, is a good colour for protesters to wear because it is eye-catching. 
Courtesy of Red Power United

The fist that many of the members have raised is a motif also seen on some of their symbols and posters.
This fist could represent the willingness to fight for their cause and I can imagine that a sea of people all thrusting their fists in the air would be a very persuading event to see. It could also represent solidarity.

In my next blog I will be looking at the costuming of AIM(American Indian Movement) protests.
If you know of any particular protest or group that you would like me to look at the costuming of, please send me a link to a page about the group or protest.

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