This blog was added to the Top 50 Native American Literature Blogs. Scroll down to the "Rest of the Best" after the Top 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stereotoypes, Mascots, and Absence of Broad, Diverse, Accurate Images

To put it all in one place - What's it like to live in your own country and never see yourself accurately represented?

News Stories - John Sanchez, Pennsylvania State University Study.
An extensive study between 1990 and 1999 of the “big three” television networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC. 

  • —During that timeframe, the 3 networks produced 175,889 news reports.  Of those, a combined total of 98 reports were about Native Americans or Native American issues.  
  • —The majority of these stories were framed by stereotypical 18th century imagery, such as Native Americans in buckskin clothing riding horses and wearing traditional headdresses. 
  • —The least common type of story were those representing 21st century Native Americans in a positive light.
  • —Most Americans believe that Native Americans are either assimilated, or extinct – that we don’t exist anymore.

Movies - Matika Wilbur, photographer. 
—A photographic documentary of Native Americans called Project 562.  Matika states that between 1990 and 2000, there were 5,868 blockbuster released films. 
  • —12 included Native Americans.
  • —All showed NA’s as spiritual or in tune with nature.
  • —10 showed NA’s impoverished or beaten by down by society.
  • —10 depicted NA’s continually in conflict with whites. 

Textbooks - Sarah Shear, Pennsylvania State University in Altoon
—An analysis of the states’ academic standards, including names of important people, dates, events and concepts.
  • —Across all the states, 87 percent of references to Natives portray them prior to 1900, with no clear vision of what happened after that.
  • —In half of the states, no individual Natives or specific tribes are named.
  • —The most commonly named are Sacagawea, Squanto, Sequoyah and Sitting Bull.
  • —Only 62 Nations are named in standards; most mentioned by only one state. 
  • —One nation, the Iroquois, is mentioned in six states.
  • —4 states (AZ, WA, OK, and KS) include boarding schools.
  • —New Mexico is the only state to mention, by name, a member of AIM.
  • —Washington is the only state to use the word “genocide” in relation to Natives.  That word is used in the standards for fifth grade U.S. history.
  • —Nebraska textbooks portray Natives as lazy, drunk or criminal.
  • —90% of all manuscripts written about Native people are authored by non-Native writers.


Anti-Defamation and Mascots
In general, NCAI strongly opposes the use of derogatory Native sports mascots. However, in the case where mascots refer to a particular Native nation or nations, NCAI respects the right of individual tribal nations to work with universities and athletic programs to decide how to protect and celebrate their respective tribal heritage.

National Congress of American Indians - Resolutions
NCAI is pleased that tribal advocates have succeeded in eliminating over two-thirds of derogatory Indian sports mascots and logos over the past 50 years. Today, there are fewer than 1,000 of these mascots left. In 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of college athletics, formally condemned the use of disparaging mascots and banned the use of Indian names, logos, and mascots during its championship tournaments.
National Congress of the American Indian Resolutions 

"Praying Indian" Towns is not something to be proud of 
Waban, the Massachusetts leader who had requested the foundation of Natick, was less than enthusiastic about Christianity. However, he was afraid that the English would kill him if he didn’t pretend to embrace their religion. In addition, the English provided him with good food.

While the Indians in the praying towns were doing their best to shed their Indian-ness and to become English, the English colonists did not trust them. When King Philip’s War broke out in 1675, the praying villages declared their neutrality. The English colonists confined all of the “friendly” Indians to a few of the eastern praying towns, The colonists then confiscated the crops and tools in the praying towns of Wamesit, Hassanamisset, Magunkaquag, and Chabanakongkomun. The Indians were confined to the village limits on penalty of death.  

In spite of the pledges of neutrality and declarations of their friendly feelings toward the English, the colonists continued to accuse the Christian Indians of supporting King Philip. The residents of Okommakamesit were arrested and marched to jail in Boston. The Natick were forced from their homes and interred on Deer Island in Boston Harbor. Deer Island was a windswept rock with little fuel and little shelter from the cold sea wind. In spite of the English hostility, the Christian Indians continued to declare their loyalty to the English and about 100 Indian men enlisted in the colonial army as scouts.