Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

All Native Americans not the environmentalists portrayed


It is interesting how we force such extreme and simplistic stereotypes on Native Americans. When I was growing up in the ‘50s, the idea that Indians were dirty savages was dying out. But still, despite Tonto, comic books usually portrayed them as bad guys and always untrustworthy and referred to them as “Injuns” and “Redskins.” Just a decade earlier, Native Americans were often treated as badly in the North as African-Americans were in the South. Native American Marines on leave from the hell of World War II in the Pacific weren’t allowed in New York City bars and restaurants.

During the past several decades the stereotype of Native Americans has turned 180 degrees from the depraved savage to the noble lover of Mother Earth. This stereotype is best typified by the early ‘70s “Keep America Beautiful” ad showing a tear falling down Iron Eyes Cody’s face as he looks at litter. Both stereotypes are ridiculously simplistic and nonsensical.

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