Misconceptions and Stereotypes

Euro-American relations in the United States have been historically tense and oppresive on the side of the Euro-Americans. This site endeavors to study this relationship within the context of mass media in a historical sense by examining mediums such as plays, movies, television, and the internet in order to discover where we have been in the past and how we can improve the representation of Native Americans in media in the future.
The settlers were at once faced with a dilemma of how to coexist with people they saw as primitive, but who also had some qualities they admired. Writings of early settlers referred to the natives' primitive innocence, their willingness to share food and other essentials of life freely in a communal environment, and their dark, handsome physical appearance. To the settlers these attributes were'noble.' At the same time, White settlers also made observations about the natives' proclivity for nudity and open sexual relationships. These traits were considered 'savage.' They emerged in colonial-era literature the concept of the 'noble savage. - Clint C. William

Native American and Euro-American relations in the United States have been historically tense and oppresive on the side of the Euro-Americans. How have you seen Native Americans portrayed in movies, plays, and other forms of popular media?

Photo Stills taken from "The Big Trail." 1930.

 

Here the stereotypical Native American is shown. Portrayed as "savage, fierce, and traditional", popular depictions of indigenous culture show a one-sided stoic image of Native Americans.

The warrior in head dress is not the only Indian.

 

University of Colorado at Boulder
© Regents of the University of Colorado
CLASP Program, 295 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0295