Reflection on Indian Stereotypes
A stereotype is a conforming idea about a group or race of people. When discussing Native Americans, many stereotypes do not accurately describe the identity of us. Racial stereotypes have always been around for as long as I can remember. Being a Native American male myself I can honestly say that I and my family have been subjected to it. I have been called a drunken Indian and my three and six year old daughters have been called “untamed heathens and savages” in public at a store by white people. The hurt and confusion on their little faces made me angry and hurt that they were subjected to that type of ignorant behavior and language by an adult. While I’ve experienced first- hand stereotyping I’ve come up with these stereotypes us Native Americans are subjected to. Native American’s in the US and Canada have always been portrayed as alcoholics, lazy, the wise elder, the aggressive drunk, Pocahontas (Indian princess), the loyal sidekick, obese and impoverished. In Hollywood films we’re portrayed as trackers and nature lovers. In the west we have to be tamed by the Cowboy because apparently we are so “wild”. While, historically American Indians were thought of as animals and are treated as such. Many still think that ALL Native Americans live in tipis, wear feathered war bonnets, lived only in the past, and Indians are stoic while having no sense of humor. Also that Indians are a vanished race. Native American’s are also portrayed as Warriors and Braves that you can find on the shirt of a high school student in North Dakota or on the Jersey of a football player in Kansas City. There’s also a notion that all Indians receive casino revenue per capita and free government money. One stereotype that persists is the idea that Native Americans great one another by putting a palm up and saying, “How”. Native Americans are commonly associated with many negative stereotypes and most of them do not accurately...
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