March 07, 2008

More quotes on stereotypes

Native women speak out on the issue of stereotyping:"There seems to be very little mainstream awareness of Native Americans as contemporary people. Most people still think in stereotypes."

Louise Erdrich (Anishinaabe)
"Many young Indians have some concept of their tribal identity, yet an outside ‘other’ constructs an alternative ‘Indian’ identity for them. How many of us have been told, ‘Funny, you don’t look Indian,’ or asked, ‘How come you don’t have black hair?’ or ‘Do you have a tipi in your backyard?’ or ‘I knew you were an Indian; you’re so spiritual!’ We are constantly barraged by images of the pretend, or the Hollywood Indian. If we don’t wear beads, feathers, or turquoise, then the non-Indian ‘other’ does not see us as authentically Indian."

Carolyn Dunn and Cindi Alvitre "Performing Nation, Performing Identity," Eating Fire, Tasting Blood, 2006
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Harm of Native Stereotyping:  Facts and Evidence.


Conny said...

I admit that I have been puzzled by people telling me they're Indian - yet they're blond and blue-eyed and about as redneck as they come. I have never made comments about it, though!

Rob said...

Blond, blue-eyed Indians are rare but not unheard of. My blond sister-in-law was a quarter Cherokee, for instance.

That was probably enough for her to join a Cherokee tribe if she wanted to. Her father looked half (or more) Cherokee, but she didn't look it at all.