The Image Of North American Indians Essay

The Image Of North American Indians Essay

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December 9th 2014

A Fruitful Myth
The image of North American Indians as inherently attuned to the natural world is one of the many images associated with this group of people and their culture. Many people have come to believe the myth that Indians are more attuned with the environment than any other race. However, this image is in fact just that; an image. It is a false picture that has been painted into the minds of others. This false picture has been associated with North American Indians for centuries. It is often said that Indigenous people have a spiritual connection with nature that no one else possesses. It is a “very fruitful myth” to believe that all Indians are in fact “nature lovers” and spiritually bound to the Earth (Harrison). The idea that all Indians highly value the environment and are deeply connected with nature is a stereotypical view placed into the minds of others by literature, film, and media. The novel Injuns, Native Americans in the Movies speaks of this image of Indians being at one with nature. Author Edward Buscombe says, “Indians came to be seen as having a special relationship to the earth and uniquely qualified to preserve it” (Buscombe169). However this is just an idea that many people have come to believe. It is inaccurate to believe these ideas about Indians because “They are sweeping generalizations – overarching assumptions that ascribe a specific set of characteristics to all people of a certain culture. Otherwise known as stereotypes” (Ridgway). Over time this inaccurate representation has generated positive thoughts about North American Indians with some negative effects because of its false essence. This idea may be a positive stereotype about Indians but it creates a fantasy image ...


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...tive Americans in the Movies. London: Reaktion, 2006. Print.
Cherokee Nation. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2014. .
Harrison, Paul. "North American Indians: The Spirituality of Nature." World Pantheist
Movement, 12 Dec. 1996. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
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Momaday, N. Scott. House Made of Dawn. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. Print.
Ridgway, Shannon. "Common Native American Stereotypes Debunked."Everyday Feminism.
N.p., 21 June 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.
Trail of Tears: We Shall Remain?America Through Native Eyes. Films On Demand. Films
Media Group, 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. .
Velie, Alan R. "The Origin Myth of Acoma." American Indian Literature: An Anthology. Rev.
ed. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. 14-26. Print.


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