Nicki Minaj has participated in the continuation of the hypersexualization and erasure of Native women in our culture via lateral oppression. By Arielle Gray [TW- discussion and mention of sexual assault against indigenous women.] Nicki Minaj proverbially broke the internet with the new cover of PAPER Magazine that dropped last week. The cover shows three versions of Nicki, one on her knees in front of another version sitting down whose breast is being touched by the third version. The cover is highly sexual but in a good way — the "Minaj à Trois" was not only a clever ode to her alter egos but a testament to sexual autonomy and queerness. It didn’t take Instagram artists long to begin re-creating different versions of the PAPER cover. Most recently, she posted a reworked version called, “Pocahontas A Trois” on her Instagram page. “Which one should I get hung up in my Barbie Bedroom?" she asks her users in the post. "I'm torn between the bad bunnies...and Pocahontas."
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbnIKl2BBps/?hl=en&taken-by=nickiminaj Before we begin the breakdown of why Nicki’s post (and her negligence to take it down) is so problematic, let’s get one fact straight: a large number of people labor under the delusion that Pocahontas was not a real person, and that Disney created the princess and her story. The reality is that Pocahontas was very much real, and was an underage girl who was forcibly married, raped, had her Native name changed to the more English “Rebecca” and on top of all of that, she was shipped off to England where she fell sick and died at the premature age of 21. The saddest thing about Pocahontas’ story is that what she experienced is neither uncommon or rare. Her life is a historical testament to the power of racial misogyny and the erasure of indigenous women and their stories from history. Reworked into a Disney movie, her suffering (and the suffering of other indigenous women) was erased as well. Disney's Pocahontas has served as a festishized, colonized and stereotypical trope for Native women, reinforcing the systems that are already at work against them. As it stands today, ⅓ of Native women will be raped at some point in their lifetimes — this number is twice the national average. Furthermore, over 80% of rape cases are committed by Non- Native men, the majority of whom are white men. Federal loopholes allow non-Native rapists to get off scott free — tribal courts do not have the federal power to persecute non Tribal members when it comes to sexual violence and rape. This gap in the law perpetuates the predation of an already underrepresented, under protected minority group.