Last week, Kim Kardashian's momager, Kris Jenner, appeared on GMA and was asked whether or not Kim would be asked to return her large engagement ring. Jenner's response: "I hate an Indian giver. It's a gift, you know." The National Congress Of American Indians issued a statement regarding the phrase "indian giving," calling it wrong and hurtful. Tara Ryan, who runs a Native American arts and entertainment company, went a more direct route and wrote to Jenner herself, saying, in part, that "a real, genuine, public apology is in order," and pointing out that the damage was compounded by the fact that Khloe Kardashian wore a "leather and feather" "Pocahontas" costume on Dancing With The Stars. And! Interestingly enough, Kris Jenner actually responded to Tara Ryan.
From: "Kris Jenner"
Date: 11/04/2011 06:56 AM
To: "Tara J. Ryan"
Subject: Re: This week's events, some thoughts to ponder
Hi Tara..thank you very much for the very well written note re my careless remarks yesterday on GMA...I am truly sorry if I offended anyone with something I said and I certainly had no intention of hurting or offending anyone...I am probably the least judgmental person you will ever meet, and never would make fun of anyone, of any race....I was asked a question on the spot and because of my dry sarcastic personality I was apparently trying to find a bit of levity in a really tough situation. I was on a book tour in nyc that was booked several months ago and never expected to be thrust into the media storm that occurred but nevertheless would do anything for my kids. obviously not an ideal situation and I'm sorry that careless remark came out of my mouth...I grew up in the 60's and in school it was a silly think kids would say if you took back a gift etc and I'm sure kids never gave it a second thought as to the kind of pain it could cause...but I get it and profusely apologize...I also feel so bad that you take offense of my daughter and grandson and their costumes...I think you can look at something real negative, or the glass half full..I always choose the glass half full because its so much more productive. Kourtney loves fashion and I assure you its a compliment that she is inspired by the indian community and the amazing native style...my grandson wears moccasins almost every day because she likes the way they look...I would look at that at a nod and smile rather than she is trying to poke fun...just another way of looking at it...I am saddened to hear that you might be one of those people who believe everything you read about my daughters decision to separate from her husband. Think about it...obviously something must have happened to have her make this type of decision. I'm sorry you are disappointed but maybe take a step back and use common sense and not judge someone else unless you are walking in their shoes...Just trying to do my best...God Bless you! And thanks for the email..Kris
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This missive was posted on Newspaper Rock, a blog "where Native America meets pop culture," and blogger Rob Schmidt feels that "Jenner apologized decently for her 'Indian giver' remark. Then she undermined it by not acknowledging a worse offense—her daughters dressing as stereotypical Indian chiefs and maidens." As for the "glass half full" remark, he writes: "There's no positive side to these chief and princess stereotypes. I haven't heard a single Indian say, 'Wow, it's great that the Kardashians are falsifying and trivializing our history.'"
Look, it's no shock when ignorant people say ignorant things. But this family made $65 million last year, and that fortune is built on a cult of personality. Their sole marketable talent is being charming, accessible, and interesting, and their words reach millions of fans. Don't they have a responsibility to condemn hurtful language and denounce culturally insensitive costumes?