Native American Storytelling Research Paper

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Concerning our perceptions of culture and race of people what are the effects of storytelling? Are there positive or negative effects when stories told repeatedly about one culture? Concerning Native Americans what are the effects of storytelling and they are used to correct misconceptions that we have about Native American culture and history. This essay covers my thoughts and opinions on the impact of storytelling potentially correcting or propagating the misconceptions that I had about Native Americans both growing up in the Pacific Northwest to now. First, this essay will describe my preconceptions of Native Americans threw storytelling growing up. Next, I will cover if and how preconceptions about Native Americans are being corrected…show more content…
My parents were at this time hippies and instill their beliefs about Native Americans. This was a product of the time and believe that all Native Americans to be purely spiritual. This idea recounted by Sacheen Littlefeather in the documentary “The Reel Injun” stating that “people emulated the American Indian as a free spirit”(Diamond, 2010). Movies and the culture at the time enforced this. The area I grew up in was home to the of the Chinook Indians, was taught in elementary level: along with respect and knowledge of the natives of the area, not the Plains Indians that Hollywood characterized. This idea “the homogenization of American Indian cultures. Native Americans are portrayed uniformly, disregarding the sometimes enormous differences among the tribes. Thus, through the use of Indian names and mascots, society defines who Native Americans are instead of allowing them to determine how society thinks of them” (McClure, 2014, 114) Growing up with this romantic notion is that it was completely unrealistic. I unknowingly accepted the fact that all Native Americans as spiritual and therefore peaceful. My prejudice only allowed me to see that they were all “most elevated of all humanity”(Burns, 2004) and not fallible as I…show more content…
Changing perception of the Native American can be accomplished through media such as television and movies. Changing the roles played by Native Americans is one example of passively challenging these perceptions. Doing this confronts the stereotypes given, providing greater depth to their people than twenty years ago. The usual roles offered at the time were often one dimensional, the wise man, noble savage, or the Indian princes. If the actors or actresses are truly powerful like Chief Dan George in “The Outlaw Josey Wales”undoing a lot of the problems in a single role”(Diamond, 2010). Altering American perception of the Native American through movies been done before, this time attempting to undo the damage done. The power of storytelling has a greater effect when Native Americans produce the stories themselves. The movie industry seems more accessible enabling a greater chance to get there story told
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