Indians In Unexpected Places Essay

883 words - 4 pages

Deloria, with his analytical survey, Indians in Unexpected Places, recounts the synthesis of western white expectations, and American Indians. The book takes its title from the general thesis, which explores not only the relationship between Indians and their introduction into an alien culture, but also the expectations that we have of Indians and how they “should” interact with our white western culture. According to Deloria, the common notion is that, “Indian people, corralled on isolated and impoverished reservations, missed out on modernity- indeed, almost missed out of history itself.” (Deloria p. 6) This falsified expectation that we have of the Native American peoples causes us to balk at the anomalies of an Indian when combined with Western culture.
Deloria, in the introduction, begins with the picture of an American Indian using a modern bubble-style hair dryer at a hair salon. This image often evokes a chuckle, as Deloria states, because of our inherent expectation for an Indian to be wearing buckskin in the plains, rather than in a hair salon. Often, once the topic of stereotype, malice, and expectations are brought up, the chuckle or grin is gone. The preconceived ideal of what an American Indian should be is so deeply ingrained within us that we do not even give it a second thought when judging a supposed anomaly as the woman under the hair dryer. Deloria organizes his work into five sections, in the form of essays. These tackle the issues surrounding the stereotypes and expectations that we have for the Native peoples, in a variety of different aspects. The first one focuses on the idea of violence, and the popular notion of a savage depiction of the Indians. The second focuses on the Native American view of themselves, and the representation of themselves. The third focuses on the sports, and the complex role of Native Americans playing white sports. The fourth deals with Indians and their relationship with white technology, more specifically automobiles. The final essay focuses on the musical expectations that we have, with the stereotypical pow-wow drumbeat. Using this format, Deloria examines the many expectations that we have for American Indians, and the anomalies that follow with them, attempting to enlighten the stereotypes and false expectations that still exist and are abound in our culture today.
Deloria presents his findings in this work in a very different way compared to Calloway for example, which is not only more of a survey, but uses a more factual and academic approach when compared to Deloria’s more casual yet extremely insightful approach of using the readers existing expectations to...

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