Racial Slurs And Stereotypes Of Native American Women

1122 Words 5 Pages
Since the introduction of European culture to the Americas, Native American women have been either been portrayed as a squaw or a beautiful princess. And the first thing to be mentioned in a conversation between a native and non-native is that somewhere 7 generations back, their grandmother was a “Cherokee Princess.” While many natives and non-natives handle these situations well or brush it off with a light joke, there’s a over 100 years’ worth of deeper meanings behind these words. Native Americans have been subject to racial slurs, jokes and brutal treatment of their cultures and traditions across multiple platforms.
From colonial press, staged photographs, inaccurate books, offensive mascots and most recently, social media native american
…show more content…
Many non-natives believe that Native American is the politically correct way of addressing native people, but it really differs from tribe to tribe. “Native Americans were and are real, but the Indian was a White invention and still remains largely a White image, if not stereotype.” (Berkhofer, 1978)
Native people are no strangers to stereotypes, racial slurs and assumptions based on inaccurate portrayals of their ancestors and cultures. Among this group, native american women are especially targeted for stereotyping. For decades, non-native writers, filmmakers, and artists have continually portrayed native people as noble warriors or hostiles savages. “This noble savage will help the main character achieve his goals rather than achieving his own wants and desires. The hostile savage, on the other hand, is out to thwart the main protagonist and his dreams.” ( Kiyawasew,
…show more content…
In either case, both are not true representation of ALL native women. “In terms of their physical features the Indian Princess is often seen as having features more like white women while the Squaw is seen as more crude, fatter and “Indian” looking.” (Kiyawasew, 2014) In many films, novels and pictures, indian women are also an object that is sexually desired by men. “Images of Indian women were loaded with racial meaning. Some women were idealized, identified in the papers as beautiful, gentle and nearly civilized, all the more praiseworthy because they had transcended the limitations of their race. Others were assigned the opposite role. They were dirty, rough and unworthy, living reminders of the inferiority of non-European peoples.” (Coward, 2014) In recent years, indian people have taken stereotypes that once repressed their people, and used them as something to empower women in their communities, nations, and across the world. Princess contests are being redefined in hopes of creating another positive avenue for native people, especially girls and women, to promote their cultures and express their identities. These pageants are modern ideas and events based on traditional culture and ideology. In most contests, participants must speak, dance, and have personal characteristics that the judges are looking for in young girls and women. 1980-81 Lame Deer powwow queen, April

Related Documents