Native American Stereotypes

AUTHOR: Joseph Eziri

For many years, Native Americans have been discriminated against and horrible stereotypes have been put on them. From past to present, stereotypes like general Native American traits to alcoholism in the Native American community plague the minds when it comes to think of Native Americans.

First, one past Native American stereotype, that still is talked about today is about how Native Americans are noble savages. According to Houska: Wall Street Journal Column Claims Mascots Honor Native Americans; I Beg To Differ, “The noble savage is a white-washed representation of American exceptionalism, a mythical figure that teaches school children that Manifest Destiny was a patriotic act that ended the tale of Native America for the onset of a new and better world. It bypasses the genocide endured by Native Americans, the theft of children, lands, and cultures that still occur today.” (para 4, Houska). The idea to say that Native Americans are noble savages, was to use an excuse to unjustifiably murder and take the land of the Native Americans. It was taught to kids throughout history, so kids wouldn’t know to real history of how America was formed.

Secondly, a present day Native American stereotype is that all Native Americans live on reservations. Even though, reservations were created when Native Americans were unjustly forced out of their rightful land. According to Native Americans: Negative impacts of media portrayals, stereotypes, “ Only 14 states have American Indian populations that exceed 100,000 people. Nearly one-fourth of Native people live on reservations.” (para 3, Qureshi). Many people feel that Native Americans all live in reservations, but stats show that not even half of Native Americans live o n reservations. They are cities living with us, succeeding in life.

The impact of the stereotypes on Native American society is that it leads a false perception on them by others. According to the film, In Whose Honor,, “It has been the way of the white man in his relation to the Indian, first to sentimentalize him as a monster until he has been killed off, and second, to sentimentalize him in retrospect as the noble savage” (James Dean)”. Also, it creates a sense of self identity problems in Native American community. According to the film, (referring to seeing Native American portrayal at a basketball game), “ I saw my daughter and son trying to be invisible”.

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