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American Indian's Image in the Media


Over the past few years, Hollywood and media has distorted the image of the American Indian consistently. The American Indians, distinct victim of the history, were portrayed as savages, and this wrong image has influenced over many people until now. It impacts their mental, sexual and religious vies. In fact young people shun away from competing in the global segment. They suffer from inferiority complex. They believe that Americans are superior to them. This essay examines how American Indians were suffering based on American’s aggression and treated as savage in films inversely, and why it needs to be recognized and changed.

Keywords: savages, films, American Indians


Who is the Real Savage? American Indian's Image in the Media

The subject of who is the real savage in the American film industry is an issue of contention in the world today. In essence, the past years have been marked by controversy regarding how the American Indians are portrayed. There has been a distortion of their image. They are considered as victims of history. In fact, they come out as savages. Savages were individuals who state of social development were below the level of civilization. They were viewed to possess some barbaric behaviors. Consequently, a savage was naturally inferior to a civilized person in the society. They were also marked with uncouth virtues and form of brutal mindedness. Moreover, they had an identical end of destruction. The image did create a wrong perception regarding the American Indian. The following paper explores the treatment of American Indians did suffer because of the American aggression and how they were treated as savages. Moreover, it exposes the need for recognition and change of the trend in the film industry.

Liu&Zhang explores the representation of American Indians in popular media. They note that the American mainstream media have been significant in propagating the destruction of the Image of American Indians. He cites several films such as ‘Dances in the wolves’ and ‘Lone Ranger’ that present an unconstructive romanticized picture of these groups of people. In essence, they did take part in cruel and subservient activities in the film. Moreover, they were shown to take part in killing and capturing the white citizens. They also had low regard for the women. It is because most of their victims were women who did not have power to salvage their lives. The victims would then be subjected to unspeakable horror by the male counterparts. However, this message was full of bias. It is because the brutality of the war in the films was an attribute to the American Indians alone. However, it was not a reality. Research did indicate that non-Indians did kill many defenseless Indian women and men. They also took captive of their children and tortured them. They would subject them to poor diets and heavy duties. In fact, American Indians did spend most of their time contending for their homeland and properties. The Americans were extremely aggressive. However, in spite of these happenings, the film industry sought to display romantic portrayals of the American Indians. The use of noble savages did illustrate that they were helpful to Americans. As time progressed, the film continued to emphasize the inevitable extinction of the doomed group. It did evoke pity for a people who did seem to vanish.

Further research emphasizes that over the past few years, The American media industry has stuck to portray American Indians as uncivilized group that is yet to embrace revolution. For instance, there are films that demarcate the group as people who are still illiterate. Moreover, they have chosen to stick to their culture and refused to embrace the impact of westernization. The films show the Indians as a people who still live in the rural setup of the community. They use the herbal remedies for their ailments. Moreover, they seek a supernatural power to get riddance from the predicament of life. The view instigates a stereotype picture in the mind of an independent viewer. The picture of a war bonnet chief remains evident in the mind of many. In essence, the American Movie industry has refused to embrace the precise presentation of the contemporary Indian culture. They rely on the Indian imagery that was critical in the 18th and 19th century.

The Wild West shows of the Hollywood continue to spread these form of stereotypes to massive audiences. In essence, the white characters hold the position of a master. However, the American Indian exhibit nakedness. They are also seen to be in possession of demi-gods. In extreme cases, they are cannibalistic characters who the world seeks to shun. These features were drawn from diverse tribal groups that inhabit the Great Plains. Consequently, these western films expose how the savage person transforms to a noble savage. There are also derogatory pictures of drunken Indians. The authority of the Shaman is also evident. In most instances, he is a mysterious and religious being who defines existence. It is also vital to note that American did use the Indians imagery to bolster their national identity. For instance, they did ensure that their local and international functions had an incorporation of the Indian themes. It was also eminent among group of people who seem to desire to break the heroic past traditions.

It is critical to note that the film presentation has mental, sexual and psychological impact to the American Indians. In fact, they negate the progress of growth and development for these people. First, portraying American Indians as inferior beings is detrimental. It makes one believe that they have a dumb intellect. They cannot compete in the world like the rest of the inhabitants. Consequently, a child who grows up watching such film is likely to develop a wrong perspective. In fact, they may shun from competing with their peers in international school. In essence, their self esteem has been tattered. It is also probable that they may not take up global jobs that demands application of the intellectual knowledge. Inferiority complex is a vice that negates progress. The produces of the American film industry should recognize the detrimental aspect and change

The sexual impact is another reality that requires recognition and outright change. When the male American Indians are distinguished as sexual being who are beyond the common level of mankind. In fact, they tend to dress incompletely. Moreover, they spend most of their times running after the white women. The picture distorts the perception of a young boy in the society. They may develop a satirical attitude towards sex. While it is a sacred act for the married folk, young people may believe that they can have sex at their disposal. The fact that they males like white women interferes with the comprehension of the young boys in the current society. They take the view that sex is only beautiful when done with a white woman. In other words, they may end up despising the African, Asian or Indian females. In essence, they are not real savages as the films exposes. It is also vital to note that the film propagate religious bias. The American Indians seem to be a people who belong to a primitive religion that enslaves them. They depend on it to find peace and acceptance in life. The role of shaman is not upheld with the dignity it deserves. As a result, an individual from another sect can despise the religion owing to wrong presentation.

The discussion is critical in discussing the real savage in the media industry. The American Film produce have in the past years exercised bias in their movies. They propagate the American Indian as uncivilized individuals who live below the norms of life. Moreover, they tend to possess barbaric behavior such as cannibalism and murder. However, they must recognize that the society continues to evolve. Moreover, the American Indians are people with moral standing in the current society. The presentation has adverse effects to these groups of people. They should consider recognizing the impact and make changes in the future works.

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