September 10, 2006

Indians and poor self-esteem

It's unfortunately easy to find evidence that Indians had or have a worse self-image than other people (on average). For instance:

Fighting Alcohol and Substance Abuse Among American Indian and Alaskan Native YouthIndian program specialists nationwide can cite various examples, including test results, that show tribal youth demonstrate lower self-confidence than the population at large.The Spatial Dispersion of Native Americans in Urban AreasHistorically, Native Americans, in particular mixed-bloods, denied their heritage and refused to identify themselves as such. This was largely due to the negative self-image imposed on Indian children during the boarding school period and the discrimination that they suffered from through most of the twentieth century.Responsible Use of the Native American ThemeUsing Indians as mascots, dressing up and playing Indian, and portraying an Indian inaccurately shapes images and reinforces stereotypes. Native Americans are insulted and for some, this negatively affects their self-image or self-esteem. "It’s hard to have self-respect if you believe others don’t respect you."Southern California Indian Center, Inc.Indian mascots are harmful to all children because they promote negative self-image in Native youth and inaccurate information and stereotypes to non-Native youth.Native American Culture and LanguageUpon leaving high school. I had a poor self-image as a Native American; I felt strongly that my own people were ashamed of and embarrassed by me; and the Bilaganas (Anglos) were the only ones who understood my limitation and were accepting of me. I didn't feel comfortable at home.This is one reason I've taken up the fight against racism and stereotyping. See The Harm of Native Stereotyping:  Facts and Evidence for more on the subject--much more.

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