A Minneapolis burlesque dancer that uses costumes and props to impersonate a Native American on stage is suspending her act after receiving criticism from community members, Vita.mn reports.
"Tomahawk Tassels," or Amanda Riley, is known for her risqué schtick where she dresses similar to Disney's Pocahontas--leather, feathers, long black braids--the whole bit and dances around stage, slowly losing items of clothing. In some performances, she incorporates a canoe and paddle.
Her stage name leaves little to the imagination of what she's left wearing at the end of the act.
The local Native American community finds Riley's gig offensive. A protest is being held at Ground Zero Nightclub, the venue where Riley usually performs, on Friday calling for Riley to retire her stage name.
"Pretty much she’s the embodiment of the Land O’ Lakes butter maiden,” said R. Vincent Moniz, a member of the local Idle No More movement. "She doesn't want to get rid of the name because to Amanda, that's what Native America is, a bunch of people with 'weird' names like Eats-With-Hands, or Orders-More-Onion-Rings. We have to constantly fight uphill against these ideas everyday."
Riley, who identifies as half-Cherokee, is also involved with Idle No More and has been spotted at the Minneapolis American Indian Center in her stage getup.
Riley admits her costumes are “super stereotypical, cheesy and ridiculous," Vita.mn reports.
"It’s who I am. It’s something I always felt connected to," she says.
Click here for a video found on YouTube of the "Cherokee seductress" during one of her performances. Warning: it's racy.