Native American Stereotypes Essay

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When you think of the typical Native American, also known as Indigenous, a stereotypical image probably comes to mind. You think of a sulky, half-naked male dressed in animal skin and a tall feathery hat, dancing around a fire. You might picture a slim, attractive female with smooth red skin and long black hair. These are the images fed to us by the media. The media created this generic version of an indigenous person and everyone has been running with it ever since. Indigenous people, are rarely represented in the media. They typically don’t appear in film and when they do, they are negatively stereotyped. These negative stereotypes are deeply embedded in American life and most Americans cannot even perceive Indigenous people as real people.…show more content…
The lack of representation could be attributed to the small percentage of Indigenous that populate the U.S. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Indigenous and Alaska Natives made up about 2 percent of the total population in 2014 (Leavitt, Covarrubias, Perez, & Fryberg, 2015). The lack of accurate representation is also heightened by the fact that the average U.S. resident experiences nearly no direct interaction with Indigenous people. Only 14 states have an Indigenous populations that exceed 100,000 people. Nearly one-fourth of Native people live on reservations (Leavitt, Covarrubias, Perez, & Fryberg, 2015). The images of the Indigenous displayed in the media evolved from the negative stereotypes created by chroniclers and artists of the earliest European settlers. Most of the representations of Indigenous people are shown in long-ago settings and living simple, close-to-nature lives. Indigenous people experience “relative invisibility” when it comes to the media. When they are included, they are generally portrayed as historical figures – individuals from the 18th and 19th centuries, wearing animal skin, living in teepees, and riding around on horses. Although there are around 562 federally recognized tribes, bands, and nations (Beadle, 2016) of Indigenous people, the media seems to stick with this generic version of a “native”. The typical Indigenous person in the media is

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