Indigenous People

Hello everyone, this week we are covering images of Indigenous people in North America and I will be leading the tutorial discussion.   In the text, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative. “Chapter II: You’re not the Indian I had in mind” by Thomas King he discusses how oftentimes Indigenous people in North America are pictured as having this particular ‘look’ and ‘image’. This particular look and image of Indigenous people in North America is one that commonly portrays Indigenous people as being “Noble Savages”. In the first video below, we see that Indigenous culture and people are oftentimes used as logos and mascots by institutions and professional Sport teams whether it is for the McGill ‘Redmen’, Edmonton ‘Eskimos’, Chicago ‘Blackhawks’, Washington ‘Redskins’, or Cleveland ‘Indians’. Likewise, in the second video below we see that oftentimes films such as ‘Pocahontas’ seem to portray Indigenous people as savage and primitive beings. In this week’s text, King mentions that photographers looking to take pictures of Indigenous people in North America would often carry boxes of First Nation paraphernalia such as wigs, blankets, painted backdrops, and clothing in case they ran into “Indians who did not look as the Indian was supposed to look” (41). In the text, King makes reference to contemporary Indigenous figures such as entertainment legend Will Rogers. King insinuates that when people think about Indigenous people they do not think about people like Rodgers because they do not “look Indian” (41). Overall, these stereotypes regarding Indigenous people in North America has resulted in some Indigenous people being viewed as not “authentic” or “real” due to them not fitting other people’s imagination of what they should look like. See Media link Video #1:   Play Video   See Media Link Video #2:   Play Video   Questions: #1).  Why do you think photographers and film makers are so obsessed with the image and portrayal of Indigenous people  as being ‘primitive’ and “Noble Savages”?  and why do you think there is so much less imagery of contemporary Indigenous culture and people? #2). How can we hold Universities, sport teams, and film makers accountable for the images they portray of Indigenous people? and how might this help us in changing the racist and stereotypical narratives of Indigenous people in popular culture?

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