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Native Americans Stereotypes in Movies

Native American Stereotypes are very common in the American movie industry. From the classic westerns films, Native Americans or first Americans have seldom been portrayed as they really are. Westerns and some documentaries about first Americans tend to describe them in stereotypical images like the wise elder man, the drunken guy who is extremely aggressive, or the Indian princess. Other stereotypical terms include the loyal sidekick or the impoverished or obese man. All these description have become extremely popular all across North America, including Canada.

Because they have been limited for many centuries to living in reservations, first Americans are also described as nature lovers and fierce environmentalists. The love that Native Americans have for nature and green initiatives is shown all over American media like newspapers, comic books and video games. In the westerns era, the way Hollywood portrayed Native Americans was centered on the fact that they needed to be civilized. They were a bad presence in the evolution process and they needed to be tamed. In other words, the wilderness, meaning the place where first Americans lived, needed to be conquered.

The classic film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ features Native Americans and portrays them as fierce trackers, meaning they have the ability to hunt down anything that moves after intense tracking. Despite this, the majority of first American portrayals presents them as criminals, savages, primitive and violent, with a low intellect and questionable morality. In all these situations, the US television networks that broadcast shows about Native Americans were not eager to respond to all the criticism that they received from the Native American community. The biggest mistake that the US movie industry has made in the effort of portraying first Americans is its focus only on simplistic and easy characterizations. It also ignored the fact that Native Americans can be viewed in a modern context, as real people, some good, some bad, with real, modern problems.