Essay about Stereotypes and Stereotyping of Native Americans

Essay about Stereotypes and Stereotyping of Native Americans

Length: 2397 words (6.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Stereotyping of Native Americans


Until fairly recently the popular culture of American literature and film did not attempt to study the true representations of Indians in North America. Instead they chose to concentrate on the romanticized/savage version of Native people: which is an idealistic view of a Native with long, beautiful flowing hair riding on a horse obsessed with chanting and praying to the savageness of a rowdy, wild Native causing unnecessary mayhem to the white people. This portrayal of Native people in mass media had led to the stereotyping of Natives, which in turn had ricocheted into real life. Not only do non-natives succumb to these ideals, but Natives do as well.

For the last century these representations of the romanticized/savage Indian has been limited to a non-natives perspective such as the novel Pigs In Heaven, written by Barbara Kingsolver and Dances with Wolves, directed by Kevin Costner. These representations, although done with sincerity, lack the authenticity of being projected by a Native person. As Sherman Alexie, author, director, and producer, states: "Only Indians can write about Indians"(Egan 18). The truth in this quote is that a writer expresses their views with compassion from the heart and talent in their blood. That heart and blood of a Native person is authentic. One cannot duplicate the heartache and negativity that a Native person has endured such as alcoholism and poverty. A Native writer such as Alexie understands this concept because he has lived on the Reservation and has dealt with such issues and the negative ideals that a Native sometimes represents. In response to Alexie's work, Shadowcatcher Entertainment producer, Scott Rosenfelt, states: "What f...


... middle of paper ...


.... The contribution of these Native writers shatters the barrier of placing Native people in a particular mold, a mold that represents the "cookie-cutter" Native. They are responding positively to the modernistic Native and negatively to the "cookie-cutter" version that Hollywood portrays.

WORKS CITED

Alexie, Sherman. Reservation Blues. New York, NY. Atlantic Monthly Press.
1995. 306.

Egan, Timothy. "An Indian Without Reservations: An Interview with Sherman Alexie." New York Times Magazine. 1998.

Eyre, Chris. Smoke Signals. Shadowcatcher Entertainment. Enit Inc. 1998.

Morris, Irvin. From The Glittering World. Norman, Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press. 1997.257.

Morris, Irvin. "Reference: From The Glittering World." E-mail Interview. 2000.

Welch, James. The Indian Lawyer. New York. Penguin Books. 1990. 349.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Stereotypes and Stereotyping of Native Americans in The Last of the Mohicans

- The Last of the Mohicans and Stereotyped Native Americans [1] Native Americans were part of this country long before our founding forefathers. They were the people that Christopher Columbus found inhabiting this land. There is even evidence to show that they have been on the American continents for thousands and even tens of thousands of years. Yet, somehow the European powers dominated these people, forcing them from their land to make it “ours.” In the early part of the twentieth century, a new industry began to develop; we call it the film industry....   [tags: Movie Film Essays]

Powerful Essays
4187 words (12 pages)

Stereotypes And Stereotypes Of Native Americans Essay

- ... Both mindsets can be extremely toxic to the mental development of these native children. According to Daniel Morley Johnson, “…when these images are used ‘all in good fun’, we might be led to believe that the underlying racism is no longer existent,” (pg.106). Just as present generations grew up watching subliminally stereotypical and racist movies and television shows, the generations before ours grew up watching and believing blatantly racist and stereotypical movies and television shows concerning Native American people....   [tags: Native Americans in the United States]

Powerful Essays
1368 words (3.9 pages)

Why Sports Teams Should Use Names And Images Associated With Native Americans

- Richard Estrada is a noted author, thoughtful, independent-minded associate editor of the Dallas Morning News. In his essay "Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names," Estrada addresses the issue of whether sports teams should use names and images associated with Native Americans. Estrada believes that using Native American tribes/groups as sport team names are unacceptable. Native Americans have the right just like all other ethnic groups to rally against the world of sports entertainment. The “Washington Blackskins” would not last a week if that were a team name so why should we allow the name “Redskins.” Estrada argues that the newspapers should ban references to Native American nicknames....   [tags: Native Americans in the United States, Race]

Powerful Essays
761 words (2.2 pages)

Native American Youth Essay

- Native American Youth The United States educational system faces a major challenge in addressing the disenfranchisement of youth due to poverty and racism in the schools. The U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 found that “currently about one-quarter of Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans are living in poverty in the U.S. compared to less than 10% of Asian Americans or Whites.” (Hughes et al. 2010, p. 2) Hughes, Newkirk & Stenhjem (2010) identified the stressors children living in poverty faced caused young adolescents to suffer mental and physical health issues which resulted in anxiety, hypertension, fear and depression....   [tags: Native Americans ]

Powerful Essays
1760 words (5 pages)

The Truth About Stories By Thomas King Shares A Native Perspective On Native Issues

- In The Truth about stories, Thomas King shares a Native perspective on Native issues. In fact, this sentence alone suggests some of the problems he deals with throughout his book. King 's book covers topics as diverse as racism and stereotyping, basketball, and coping with life 's sorrows, but it looks at all of these issues through an exploration of narrative in the forms of stories that we tell ourselves and others. The book 's main message is one that discusses the importance of seeing people for who they are, and not trying to classify them as one particular race or culture....   [tags: Native Americans in the United States]

Powerful Essays
1518 words (4.3 pages)

Stereotypes And Stereotypes Affect The Mental Health Of Different Minorities

- ... Since Asians are stereotyped in this way it can cause mental problems when they don’t live up to the standards of what everyone thinks, which can then lead them to their engagement in drugs and alcohol. Native American Indians are another minority that are heavily stereotyped against through the use of mascot imagery. In a dissertation, Fryberg, and Ann note that, American Indian high school students were primed with a prevalent social representation of their group (i.e., Pocahontas, Chief Wahoo, or Negative Stereotypes), and then completed state self-esteem or collective self-efficacy measures....   [tags: Native Americans in the United States]

Powerful Essays
1051 words (3 pages)

Stereotypes of Native Americans in Modern Films Essay

- Stereotypes of Native Americans in Modern Films There are many stereotypes about Native Americans which are promoted in today's films. Since the beginnings of the westward settlement people have been saying things about the Native Americans that are not necessarily true. They were depicted as savages and thieves. Like all peoples this is true about some, but not for all. In fact, it was the Native Americans which helped the pilgrims settle in this country in the first place. This never stopped whites from stereotyping the way we have....   [tags: Movie Film Essays]

Powerful Essays
1332 words (3.8 pages)

Stereotyping of the Native Americans in the 1820's and 1830's Essay

- Stereotyping of the Native Americans in the 1820's and 1830's For Americans moving west in the 1820's and 30's there was little firsthand knowledge of what the frontier would be like when they arrived. There was a lot of presumption about the Indians. Many felt, through the stories they heard and read, that they had sufficient information to know what the Indians would truly be like and how to respond to them. Unfortunately, as is described in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, white settlers stereotyped the Native Americans as savage, heartless beasts....   [tags: Western Indians Racism Essays]

Powerful Essays
3089 words (8.8 pages)

Essay about Stereotypes and Stereotyping of Native American in The Pioneers

- The Native American Behind the Stereotype in The Pioneers        Throughout the history of American literature, the Native American is rarely presented as a fully developed character; instead, he is degraded to a mere caricature, one deeply rooted in traditional racial prejudices. In his novel, The Pioneers, James Fennimore Cooper became the one of the first American authors to depict an Indian as a leading character; in fact, Cooper's depiction of the infamous Chinkachgook is widely considered to be the original archetypical basis for Native American figures as seen in American literature.  However, Cooper's characterization of Chinkachgook, known by a variety of names, includin...   [tags: Pioneers]

Powerful Essays
1948 words (5.6 pages)

Representation of Native Americans Essay

- I went to a high school where the mascot was a Native American Warrior. I had come from a middle school where the mascot was a dog, so the transition to a human mascot seemed odd. I later learned in high school history classes that Native Americans were repressed peoples. When institutions and sport groups were being formed, powerful mascots would be adopted. The mascots were preferably fearless and dangerous creatures. Because of rising issues with Native Americans during the 1800s and reservation issues in the 1900s, attention would be drawn to Native Americans....   [tags: Culture, Mascots, Negativity]

Powerful Essays
1120 words (3.2 pages)