Imaging Indians




Hollywood is one of the most influential entities in the world. This industry shapes the perception of movie viewers in every aspect of their lives. In Hollywood movies, Americans and Indians are the key players as a result of their long interaction in the history of America. Therefore, Hollywood movies greatly affect the perceptions of the Americans and other audiences about Indians. In most cases, Hollywood stereotype Indians as savages, as well as primitives. They portray Indians as vicious and dangerous people headed for extinction. Even with the production of Indians and western films, this wrong perception of Indians still remains in the mind of many movie audiences (Aleiss, 35).

The Native American has experienced extensive damage from mass media in the way it portrays cowboys and their process of moving in the west. These cowboys moved across the west conquering the lands while riding the horses. In real sense, they were driving the Indians out (Mihelich, 130). This example points out at some of the cultural misconceptions created by the Hollywood. The conception of the movie by young Americans is inaccurate, as well as highly damaging. This misconception especially in young children makes it difficult for them to learn about the Native Americans of the present days (O’Connor, 72). The stereotype on Indians has also affected the Indians in America. Many of them suffer from self-esteem deficiency caused by the stereotyped depicted by the Hollywood. Over the decades, the culture and the religion of the native Indians has been suppressed violently. Therefore, many people nowadays learn about Indians from distorted information available through movies and televisions. The negative images of the American Indians have served to hide the oppressors from the crimes they committed against the Indians and to justify their exploitations (Lutz, 56).

Works Cited

Aleiss, Angela. Making the White Man’s Indian. Native Americans and Hollywood Movies. London: Praeger. 2005. Print

Lutz, Hartmut. Approaches. Essays in Native North American Studies and Literatures. Augsburg: Wißner. 2002. Print.

Mihelich, John. “Smoke or Signals? American Popular Culture and the Challenge to Hegemonic Images of American Indians in Native American Film.” Wicazso Sa Review 16.2, (2001), 129–137.

O’Connor, John, “The White Man’s Indian. An Institutional Approach.” In P.C. Rollins and John E. O’Connor, eds. Hollywood’s Indian: The Portrayal of the Native American in Film. Lexington/KY: University Press of Kentucky. 2003. Print.

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