Indian Imagery

Historically non-Indian Americans have used representations of Native peoples in the arts, political theatre, commerce, and social organizations, and they still do. This imagery has both reflected and reinforced the popular idea that Native people were not capable of contributing to American society. Native people themselves and scholars who study cultural representation argue that American images of Indians actually served the interests of non-Indian groups and governmental policy. This section examines the ways that both negative and ostensibly positive images of “Indians” are inaccurate and inappropriate, that is, stereotypical. It also considers the efforts of Native people to challenge stereotypes in sports imagery and by the development of tribal museums. Finally, the “Indian Imagery” section explores the work of scholars who study why non-Indian Americans think about and represent Indians the way they do.

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