January 23, 2010

Litefoot dispels stereotypes

Off ‘the Rez’

By Cheryl HatchWhen Cherokee rapper Litefoot was asked to read the script for the 1995 movie “The Indian in the Cupboard,” he resisted. “That’s a crazy title.”

After he read it, he accepted the role of Little Bear. “Little Bear had tattoos and was half bald.”

He walked up to a teepee and didn’t know what it was. When the child offered him a horse, Little Bear said “We don’t ride horses. We walk,” said Litefoot, explaining that the representations of the Indian were historically accurate. “They go against mainstream media stereotypes of Native American people.”

As an actor and rapper, Litefoot uses the same media—movies, music and marketing—that perpetuate negative stereotypes to challenge and dispel them.

“I have control over what gets presented to the public.”
Comment:  I haven't read the Indian in the Cupboard books, but I saw the movie. I liked it. I think Litefoot achieved his goal of dispelling stereotypes and creating a realistic Indian character.

For more on the subject, see Litefoot's Native Green Energy and The Best Indian Movies.

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