Emily Delgado, the United States representative in this year’s Miss Grand International Pageant, is stirring some serious controversy after the outfit and gestures she made during the competition. When she was introduced, Delgado walked down the stage wearing what was presumably intended to be a Native American-inspired costume with a headdress. She then made several stereotypical gestures as she walked around the stage.
This is NOT who we are. Cultural appropriation is NOT ok. Miss Grand USA international is now claiming to have Native ancestry to cover up this mess. If she really was Native she would know our history, wouldn’t mock us like this and would know that our culture isn’t a costume. pic.twitter.com/c4kabvpIwr— Ashley Callingbull (@AshCallingbull) October 23, 2019
Social media was quick to call her out for the clear cultural appropriation. Canada’s first indigenous woman to win the Mrs. Universe title in 2015, Ashley Callingbull of Alberta’s Enoch Cree Nation, was one of the first to speak out on the moment with a tweet, admitting it was a mockery of the very values held by Natives.
“It’s ridiculous how cultural appropriation is still happening in pageants... Especially when pageants give us a voice and platform to educate others,” Ashley Callingbull wrote in a second tweet. “Dressing up as Pocahottie is NOT how you honour our culture. Educate yourself next time Miss USA. You look like a fool.”
“Disgusting. Anyone with Native ancestry would NOT do something THAT unbelievably ignorant. Anyone with any sort of decency, intelligence, or humanity would not even consider such an outfit. USA International entertains this kind of dehumanizing racism?” one person replied.
“This is horrific. Hideous. If she had any legitimate connection to any actual #Indigenous culture, she would know this is patently offensive. Whatever her real, imagined, or hastily-invented heritage, these are anti-Native actions,” another wrote.
People on Facebook were just as outraged. "Hello Native American here... this an insult and people who are thinking this is appropriate. Need to get educated. Let alone Pocahontas was a girl who was kidnapped from John. Nothing of this costume is right,” one person commented.
Another wrote, “Ignorant showcasing of entitlement and dishonor to Native American Peoples in the United States. Her costume and performance is disgraceful.”
Miss Grand International is a pageant based in Thailand that was created in 2013. It is owned by TV producer Nawat Itsaragrisil, and claims its goal is to promote peace.
"An end to war is an ideal objective of freedom, peace, and harmony within all of us; namely, country, religion, race, community and family because life is simply better when it is at peace,” their website reads. “Our ideal objective is an end to all forms of violence and hostility. For the sake of our children and the generations to follow, it is our duty domestically and internationally to rid the world of conflict and focus our efforts on improving the quality of life for all humanity."