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Columbus Land Essay

1700 words - 7 pages

Native Americans have been living on American soil for quite a while now. They were here before the European colonists. They have been here and still continue to be present in the United States. However, the way the media represents Native Americans disallows the truth about Native Americans to be told. Only misinterpretations of Native Americans seem to prosper in the media. It appears the caricature of Native Americans remains the same as first seen from the first settler’s eyes: savage-like people. Their culture and identity has become marginalized by popular culture. This is most evident in mainstream media. There exists a dearth of Native American presence in the mainstream media. There is a lack of Native American characters in different media mediums. When they are represented, they are misrepresented. They are easily one of the most underrepresented cultures and people in American media. Native Americans shouldn’t be confined to a stereotype, should have a greater presence in the media, and shouldn’t be misrepresented when they are presented.
The stereotype of Native Americans has been concocted by long history. As any stereotype constructed by physical appearance, the early Europeans settlers were no different and utilized this method. Strangers to the New World, they realized the land was not uninhabited. The Native Americans were a strange people that didn't dress like them, didn't speak like them, and didn't believe like them. So they scribed what they observed. They observed a primitive people with an unorthodox religion and way of life. These observations made the transatlantic waves. Not knowingly, the early settlers had transmitted the earliest cases of stereotyped Native Americans to the masses. This perpetuated the stereotype still known today: “Popular culture, which ‘reflects the concerns of the White people but marginalizes and trivializes those of the Indians,’ is instrumental in the fabrication of stereotypes that fit the needs of the mainstream society and its public memory” (Buken 47). The observations soon made it to print; typically, to warn or inform those of the dangers involved with Native Americans in the New World. As communication means evolved, the Native American stereotype continued along with it. First came print, next radio, and then film followed. When it came to film portrayals, the only information films relied on was the observations in print by the early European settlers. This led to the perspective of the settlers being frequented, while the Native American perspective was rarely or never incorporated. Inevitably, there were historical inaccuracies associated with these films and media coverage. They were made to tell how the Europeans saw the Native Americans “as mythical/legendary beings rather than flesh and blood ordinary humans with vices and virtues, sufferings and joys, failures and accomplishments” and not how the Native Americans saw themselves (Buken 46). Foreigners wrote the history of an...

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