edia and societyNovember is usually the month that we celebrate Native American heritage and this is the time when young children conceptions of Indians develop out of media and in elementary school. Usually when teachers associate, native Americans with holidays like thanksgiving or Columbus day, its makes children believe that Indians dont exist always referring to them in the past. As a child I remember seeing Indians portrayed in negative images in books and film. They would make the Indians look like blood thirsty savages, uncivilized animals. One example of this would be the Disney classic peter pan
For many years Native Americans have been seen as squaw or lone warrior and nothing more than story book tale tales. Stereotypes of native people go all the way back to the civil war. The weird thing about it is that stereotype of other minorities have changer or have gotten more exposure in the world we live in today. Other stereotypes of minorities have slowly progressed into in to more positive as the Indians representation has been minimal.
The misrepresentation of the native Americans that we perceive is due to the false representation in popular sports teams like the redskins, and in the media from john Wayne movies to 50 and 60s cartons with long nosed red faced Indians running around tee peas half nave powwowing. Many of sports directors are aware of the misrepresentation of the Native Americans but refuse to change the mascot saying it glorifies them, while us now it is disrespectful and racist. The media plays a major role in the misrepresentation when portraying Native Americans with minute or no usage of Native Americans on televisions. Which makes it hard to have any perspective of how they are in the present day? When T.V. first came out the Indians were always shown as savage. This is not how all Indians are but how TV and media have shown this certain side of them. It s hard to believe that the media would show this deception of these people knowing that it has a huge impact on people and society and that there would be more of and effort to show a more realistic and up to due date of these people.
As you see in film the Indians are seen as savage people, war paint, feathers, braids, beads and the beating drum, these are some of the main stereotype images that attribute association with the Native Americans. Even in entertainment Native Americans are misrepresented, in the WWF there are two Native American characters that are a tag team that go by the names sky walker and lone wolf which are made up names. In there performance they come out doing a made up native American dance wearing war paint braids in there hair and tomahawks in there hands. This give the depictions of native Americans being warrior, spiritual and looking to chop of some ones scalp, which we now is a misrepresentation of the Native American people.
Also casting of Indians into of early film and television into villainous roles has perpetuated a false perception of these people. In a small comic I found of the internet the comic said firs thing I seen on walking was my own bloody scalp dangling from that braves belt they shot the men and set the little wagon ablaze and took Jesse and Tommy, again this is showing the false savage deception of the Native American people.
Historical ignorance is at fault for allowing these images and made them an acceptable part of the American way. Preying on the societies limited knowledge of the Native Americans culture and traditional ways. Many images seen have been the so called Holly Wood Indian which has been the savage Indian or the wise medicine man. (Mike Hilger) describes these representations as the development pf noble to savage red man. In his book he analyzers the development by pointing out the misrepresentation were subconsciously laced with racism and miscegenation. One of his examples was even when an Indian was portrayed as a secondary hero he was still deemed inferior to his white counter part and usually the brunt of racist humor by providing comedy relief which is demeaning. Also any interracial romance occurring between natives and non native persons were never dignified with happy endings. These relations usually ended with the Indian giving up his or her lover at the realization that their two cultures could never live together (Bataille). Even in silent films as early as 1913 Native Americans have been part of the entertainment industry. Their presence in film can be traced back further than that of the cowboy; Native Americans were the original stars of the silent westerns. Though Native Americans where pillars of early narratives, it wasnt until the end of the silent era that Indians were portrayed as savage menaces (hilger).
JFK said for a subject worked and reworked so often in novels motion pictures and television American Indians are the least under stood and the most misunderstood Americans of us all (Hilger).
SEVEN FIRES COUNCIL OUR PEOPLE OUR FUTURE (www.merceroline.com/Native/native10.htm)
The reason why we need to get ride of these stereotypes? Today Native Americans make up less than 1 % of our population but they still represent over 500 nations that reflect diversity in culture language and geographical location. The misrepresentation shows up in the media sports teams logos and mascots the misrepresentation is offensive and the depiction is racist whether it is intended or not. Some stereotypes about the Native Americans are.
All native men are called braves or chiefs the women called squaws and children are called papooses. These terms and names have been perpetuated by non Native Americans. That all Native American people are spiritual, mystical. Native Americans view harmony with the earth as part of a religious culture and are extremely aware of the impact actions have on the environment. Native Americans view the earth as living entity, a provider. The spiritual ceremonies of Native Americans are complex and may be difficult for people outside their culture to understand. All Native Americans wear war bonnets. Not all do, war bonnet was originally made from Golden Eagle feathers and was developed by Native American nations living west of the Mississippi river. Each feather in a war bonnet represented an honorable act that its wearer has accomplished while defending his home or nation. All Native Americans greet one another by saying HOW. Not true although their languages and dialects require the use of sounds that are not produced in the English dialect. These sound are usually made at the back of the throat or through the nasal passage. All Native Americans were feathers. Feathers of certain birds are sometimes worn as part of a spiritual ceremony of dance. They are all alcoholics. Early traders and government agencies manipulated Native American individuals and communities by encouraging consumption of alcohol that created problems with in Native American communities. All Native Americans live on reservations or out west. Most media images and history books about Native Americans suggest that all Indians are living in the western part of the U.S. on reservations, when a majority actually live in urban areas throughout the United States.Native Americans are dishonest. This has also been caused by the media exploiting of popular Indians. The historical roots of this misconception date back to the early explorers who destroyed the integrity and character of Native American by portraying them as dishonest. Many of the treaties established between the Indian nations were broken, not by the Indians people but by the federal government.Native Americans smoke marijuana in their peace pipes, Sitting bull once said there is no such thing as peace pipe because there has never been peace the native never put illegal narcotics into a pipe to get high, but smoked blessed tobacco and other herbs. In a picture in a Ohio ad sponsored by Drug Free America had Sitting Bull sitting and underneath it said Sitting bull smoked marijuana lived in a tent with no cable then the federal government killed him.
Examples from my Presentation
Another stereotype was that all Indians where the same that all wore buckskin and lived in tipis followed a great chief and his medicine man. In actually this com from separate unrelated cultures . Cowboy movies during the 20th century portrayed the plains people as living in tipis wearing war bonnets or feathers in their hair, riding horses. As a result of this the common assumption is that all Native Americans were like those portrayed in film, (Hilger) this is very far from the truth. Plains people did live in tipis and they were nomadic. They were introduced to horses by the Spaniards into their nomadic life and used them in war as well as for travel. Before horses they used dogs to carry their loads. In the east people lived in longhouses, wigwams. Out west people lived in structures made of adobe, mortared sand and water which they shaped into bricks to make homes.
There is a banded in Las Vegas called Drunk Injuns.This band stereotypes Indians in several different ways one the name drunken injuns is calling Indians lazy coons, the skull mask imply Indians are dead ghostly, the band members names are fictional, and the whole bit about ghost warrior spirits is implying Indians are dead and suggest theyre strange and otherworldly.
Indians have gone from primitive uncivilized warriors to welfare recipient learn how to live of the governments handouts to another stereotype as the greedy India
Example of this I am going to use is from a south park episode (which is a cartoon). This was one of the most racist episodes Ive ever seen on T.V. Calling Indians every thing from greedy and evil. The show also had the depiction of the Native American wearing head dresses and war paint. Its messed up because the people at south park are making the Indians look like villains even while its defending their rights to preserve homes. Although the moral of the episode was to spoof on the whites because this is what they did to the Native Americans by taking all there land.
The way to battle these depictions and stereo types of these people is to make them awareness through media education. Also try to get more recent representation of Native American on T.V. Getting more Indian actor and directors on T.V. showing the stories of Native Americans peoples stories out by Native Americans. Because the media, sports, and television are all linked together when communicating with the society there first would need to be the help of someone in the media that could be the voice of Native Americans so that they can be heard. Having a strong voice can help to make a strong impact when trying to bring justice to the stereotyping and depiction of these Native American people.
Her are some ways we can get ride of Native American stereo types:
* Don’t assume you have no Native Students, clients, colleagues,neighbors, etc.
* dont talk about Indians as though they belong to the past. (e.g., “When Indians lived here….”)
* Don’t regard as heroes only those Native leaders who are believed to help Europeans, e.g.Pocahontas, Squinto, Sacajawea.
* Don’t think of all Native Americans as one monolithic group. (e.g., “Indians were nomadic.”)
* Don’t expect any Indians to look like Hollywood movie “Indians”.
* Don’t let the TV and movie stereotypes go unchallenged.
* Don’t assume all Indians are well acquainted with their own heritage or that of other Native nations, or that they are “one with nature.”
* Don’t let people think that Native ways of life have no meaning today.
* Don’t regard it as an honor to Native people to name sports teams or
mascots or consumer goods for them.
* Do look for books and materials written and illustrated by Native people.
* Do look for materials which show Native women, Elders and children as integral and important to Native societies.
* Do talk about Native People in the present.
* Do focus on the positive contributions Native People are making and have made to the American Society
Seven Fires Council: (www.merceroline.com/Native/native10.htm)
Gretchen M. Bataille and Charles L.P. Silet, The Pretend Indians: Images of Native Americans in the Movies (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1980)
Michael Hilger, The American Indian in Film (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1986)