Bojana Novakovic and two mockeries

Main image taken from Bojana Novakovic’s Facebook Page.

On August 27th, a tweet by Delores Schilling called out actress Bojana Novakovic for fake crying next to a marker for the Trail of Tears.

The 26 second video showed Bojana and her sister fake crying, then laughing at the end. It was part of a series of clips that Bojana shared on her Facebook Page of a 30 day, 4600 mile cross country road trip by her and her sister. The shared clip on Twitter has over 100k views.

Once posted, reaction from #NativeTwitter was swift.

Eventually, Bojana made a statement to Indian Country Today, as well as reply to Del’s tweet with this:

Bojana posted the exact same thing in two other posts. Had she left it at this, speculation on her sincerity might not have been questioned so much. A number of people still had understandable doubts at this point, which is to be expected given the severity of the offense.

Interestingly, new information came to light when someone pointed out that there had indeed been comments about the Trail of Tears in replies to the video when it had been posted a year prior.

The image for the alleged image apology that was posted by Bojana and deleted minutes later had been shared in responses. It begins by sounding much like the apology given to Indian Country Today, yet diverts into something much worse by the end. Let’s take it apart. First, the text in whole.

“Long thread to follow.

Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. This was obviously gross ignorance on my part. I had no idea what the Trail of Tears was about and want to be very clear that had I known I would never have posted this. To than [sic] end I have done two things to make amends. I have ordered the book, Trail of Tears by John Ehle, which I will read from cover to cover, and I intend to post about Cherokee history here every week. I have also made the decision not to delete the post yet, so that anyone reading this can take part in any kind of conversation they want to about white ignorance, or whatever it is that you want to brand my action as.

For those of you who know me, you know there is no way I would ever do something so fucking dumb intentionally.

But for those of you who have impulsively drawn conclusions, particularly those who posted the thing, I wonder why you wouldn’t just contact me directly and ask me what this was about… and maybe educate my ignorant ass. Any glance at my twitter or Instagram feed would show you quite obviously that I am not only an advocate for the lives of people of color, but right there on the frontlines gathering signatures and petitioning for legislative change. I’ve been brought up in Australia advocating for indigenous rights, so you’d assume that I have the same beliefs about the lives of native Americans, even though I am not as educated in the history of the USA.

This was a post made over a year ago while on a motorcycle trip with my sister. Ironically, I thought the trail of tears was called thus due to the rain in the area, and I thought it was quite a beautiful name for a trail. I’m a fan of crying so made the post. Obviously I had no idea about its history and this is a mistake. It kills me to think that anyone will see this and make the judgment they do, and it’s embarrassing, but as I said, I will leave the post up for another 24 hours because this is an important conversation. I am happy to admit my ignorance. At the same time I do invite people who have been incensed by it, particularly those people who are not necessarily active in the pursuit of advocating for the lives of minorities or indigenous communities outside of their twitter feeds, to get active. I certainly will. And you never know, this little act of ignorance might lead to greater things. For all of us.
Again, I apologize. Bojana.”

Now breaking it down a little, the motivations and redeeming qualities really come into question.

“To than [sic] end I have done two things to make amends. I have ordered the book, Trail of Tears by John Ehle, which I will read from cover to cover, and I intend to post about Cherokee history here every week.”

This starts out as seemingly a generous gesture of learning and passing on education.

“I have also made the decision not to delete the post yet, so that anyone reading this can take part in any kind of conversation they want to about white ignorance, or whatever it is that you want to brand my action as.”

This comes off as hostility directed at anyone who made heated comments of the video, her and her sister’s reactions or called her out for her ignorance. This seems more of a martyr move intended to now show her as the victim and Natives and allies as the aggressors.

“For those of you who know me, you know there is no way I would ever do something so fucking dumb intentionally.”

I would wager that the majority of people commenting about the video obviously do not know her personally. This also throws those who do know her under the bus on an expectation of her defense.

“But for those of you who have impulsively drawn conclusions, particularly those who posted the thing, I wonder why you wouldn’t just contact me directly and ask me what this was about… and maybe educate my ignorant ass.”

Ah yes, the ‘this should have been private where I can control how it gets spun’ approach. This is a familiar tactic to many.

“Any glance at my twitter or Instagram feed would show you quite obviously that I am not only an advocate for the lives of people of color, but right there on the frontlines gathering signatures and petitioning for legislative change.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but glancing at Bojana’s Twitter and Instagram did not make this obvious. The whole “show you quite obviously” attempts to remove her accountability as well as shift blame to anyone who called her out for not already knowing the purity of her heart or actions she’s taken in other endeavors.

“I’ve been brought up in Australia advocating for indigenous rights, so you’d assume that I have the same beliefs about the lives of native Americans, even though I am not as educated in the history of the USA.”

Not when you can’t write “Indigenous” or “Native” correctly, no.

“This was a post made over a year ago while on a motorcycle trip with my sister.”

The time that has passed is irrelevant; we come across disrespect and will call it out when we see it.

“Ironically, I thought the trail of tears was called thus due to the rain in the area, and I thought it was quite a beautiful name for a trail.”

Pretty sure that’s not irony. It’s also called the Trail of Tears. Note the capitalization.

“I’m a fan of crying so made the post.”

…uh?

“Obviously I had no idea about its history and this is a mistake.”

No, it’s not obvious. Plenty of bigots, racists and ignorant people have made a mockery of our histories and genocide; hell, look at Native mascots. You could very well have been on of those. We didn’t know. Hence the confusion and upset.

“It kills me to think that anyone will see this and make the judgment they do, and it’s embarrassing, but as I said, I will leave the post up for another 24 hours because this is an important conversation. I am happy to admit my ignorance.”

The post was already gone by the time this had been posted and retweeted. Deleting the video removed any comment on your Page so no one would be able to view the video or the candid reactions to it, thus no evidence. Being happy to admit ignorance is an interesting choice of words. Embarrassed, yes. Ashamed, perhaps. Why happy? Are you glad for your ignorance?

This next bit is my favorite part.

“At the same time I do invite people who have been incensed by it, particularly those people who are not necessarily active in the pursuit of advocating for the lives of minorities or indigenous communities outside of their twitter feeds, to get active. I certainly will.” (emphasis mine)

In this first sentence, this fauxpology insults those who replied or commented as not being nearly as active as she is in advocacy and places her in a superior status to the rest of us. ‘Get off your asses and do something, just like me’.

It’s Indigenous, not indigenous, by the way.

Social media as a whole has been a great tool for amplifying voices and causes. Look at the racists that have been called out publicly, often to the detriment of their careers or jobs. Remember BBQ Becky? Permit Patty? Videos of police brutality that many of us might not have been aware of without social media? The many disabled or housebound people who have social media as a connection to the outside world and rely on it for communication?

In one sentence, we’ve been viewed more as ‘keyboard warriors’ and, when it all comes down to it, a nuisance. It further illustrates ignorance as to what else any one of us does for our people and communities while also being on Twitter. Whether it be language revitalization, information on adoption, ICWA, arts, culture, MMIW, or sharing vital information and news that affects Indian Country, among a great many other things.

In fact, ‘Any glance at’ our ‘twitter or Instagram feed would show … quite obviously that’ we are very much invested in our people, cultures and communities. Obviously.

“And you never know, this little act of ignorance might lead to greater things. For all of us.”

I, for one, don’t need her brand of ‘greater things’ because I’m fairly certain that isn’t going to include an ‘us’.

“Again, I apologize. Bojana.”

I’m not buying it.

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