Myths That Hide The American Indian

763 words - 3 pages

Nearly everyone in this world is guilty of stereotyping against a certain race, religion, ethnic group, nationality, etc. One of those groups that are stereotyped is the Native Americans. Ever since the Europeans "discovered" the New World, there have myths about the Native Americans that lead to this stereotyping. In the essay, "Myths That Hide the American Indian" by Oliver La Farge, many of those myths are brought up. Due to these myths about the Native Americans, people's views, past and present, of who and what they are have become extremely distorted, or essentially hiding the Native Americans from white people.

One of the many myths that the Europeans created about the Native Americans is that they are bloodthirsty, ruthless savages. Oliver La Farge does a good job in his essay of discounting this myth by giving multiple examples of how most groups of Native Americans were a peaceful group of people that just were not quite as well developed socially, economically, technologically, etc. as the Europeans. Because of this lack of development on behalf of the Native Americans, the Europeans looked at the Native Americans as uncivilized savages. The reason that this myth was even created was to justify the slaughtering of thousands of Native Americans at the hands of the Europeans, with the justification being that they were inferior beings, which is another myth brought up. Once the Europeans had conquered the Native Americans, this myth was altered, now proclaiming that the Native Americans were drunken, lazy good-for-nothings. La Farge also discounts this part of the myth in his essay. Going back to the point of the Europeans thinking they were superior a superior race when being compared to the Native Americans, that would happen in any situation if the circumstances were similar because it is human nature to believe that if one race able to conquer another race, then they will believe they are superior. This is one of the continuing myths that have hid the Native Americans from white people.

Another one of the myths that plagued the Native Americans is that the early European settlers tended to assume that all or most of the Native Americans had one culture and that they were all at about the same stage of development. This myth...

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