March 08, 2011

Echo-Hawk's art confronts stereotypes

Disproving stereotypes with art

By Kayla OliverioEcho-Hawk's goal is to educate his audience on Native American culture by converting old stereotypes created by the mass media into a more positive perspective. Echo-Hawk sometimes uses the media in his work as a vehicle to deliver his messages.

"For example, I used images of Yoda from Star Wars and I converted him to a Native (wearing) a war bonnet and at first people will laugh, as it is an amusing image, but it forces the viewer to consider Natives as the good guy for a change. In movies, Natives are usually the bad guys. This country accepts Indians were the bad guys. By making them heroes, it reverses the effect," Echo-Hawk said.

The Media Awareness Network of Canada website has observed the negative portrayals of Natives in the media, displaying Natives as "the wise elder, the aggressive drunk, the Indian princess, the loyal sidekick, obese and impoverished." Echo-Hawk feels that these stereotypes are damaging to Native people because of their insulting and outdated nature.

"I think (media) has a profound effect (on Native American culture). There is a lack of representation of Native American culture and when there is a representation, it is misrepresented. For our Native youth, it is sad we don't have positive role models. We don't have our heroes in the movie screens or on TV and music," Echo-Hawk said.
Comment:  I attended a conference with Bunky back in 2005. You can read about it in PEACE PARTY vs. Toxic Waste.

For more on challenging art, see Obama Portrait Puts Echo-Hawk on Map. For more on Echo-Hawk, see Curtis Photos vs. Smiling Indians and Photos Challenge Native Stereotypes.

Below:  If Yoda Was An Indian.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, The Lancer is usually more popular than The Hero. Can't think of any Indian examples I can point to.

These days, Indians are more the victim, though I wouldn't be surprised if some accused us of divided loyalties.

Something about EchoHawk's work is very Dada. Yeah, that's right: Indians making pop culture references. No doubt somewhere a New Ager is going nuts.