Beautiful Brains: Tribal Nail Art, and thoughts on Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day
Although this probably isn't a national holiday most Americans get overly excited about (we still have work and school, after all), it saddens me that we dedicate a day to what is in fact a very dark part of our country's history and origins. I am hoping that by now you all know that the narratives surrounding Columbus Days are largely national myths that attempt to conceal the realities of physical and cultural genocide against indigenous populations. Of course, this history isn't typically taught to us in school. The education system would much rather teach children fairy tales about benevolent Indians and brave, friendly colonialists as they draw pictures of pilgrims and the Mayflower. Most Columbus Days, my mother kept me home from school because she cherishes her native ancestry and believes it is important that I learn the truth about what happened to her family's ancestors. I implore all Americans, regardless of whether or not you are personally connected to native communities in any way, to rethink Columbus Day.

Check out last year's PSA to Reconsider Columbus Day:

If you follow my blog, you might remember my verbose post on the 'going tribal' trend wherein I discussed cultural appropriation and commodification (check out that post here). I still stand behind every word written in that post, but I am also the first to admit that some things that fall under the 'going tribal' trend umbrella are pretty flippin' cute. Fringe boots? I want a pair so bad. Feather hair extensions? Some say they are overplayed, but I still think they are adorable. And this tribal nail art design I have seen floating around blogs? I had to recreate it. I don't pretend to know where the line is between fashion and offensive cultural appropriation, because that line is really subjective. More than anything, I think it is important we always consider the political and cultural implications of our fashion and beauty choices. As the activism around Reconsidering Columbus Day shows us, the politics surrounding tribal history and Indigenous cultural survival are contemporary issues. We can't pretend that our participation in the fashion and beauty industries is somehow disconnected from our social and historical context.

With all of my political considerations and disclaimers said, this is my first attempt at the 'tribal' nail art design. Overall, I feel like it is a decent first go, although my rendition comes off a little bit 'East egg' to me. If you all are interested in a tutorial, let me know- I would be more than happy to post one the next time I recreate this design.

Here are the polishes I used for this look:

Zoya Keko- 2 coats as base color
Essie Turquoises & Caicos- stripes painted on with cheap eyeliner brush
Kiss Nail Art Polishes in White, Black, and Silver Glitter- to create details

What do you think of this design? Interested in a tutorial?
Any thoughts about the 'going tribal' trend or Columbus Day?

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