One hundred members of NatChat, an electronic mail discussion group concerned with Native American issues, responded to the recent Disney release Pocahontas by calling on parents to boycott the movie, citing its historical inaccuracies and saying that "Disney has let us down in a cruel, irresponsible manner." Their anger was rooted in the fact that, although Disney had claimed that the film's portrayal of American Indians would be "authentic," the Pocahontas story the movie told was really white cultural myth. The actual histories of the characters were replaced by mythic narratives depicting the crucial moments when aid was given to the white settlers. As reconstructed, the story serves to reassert for whites their right to be here, easing any lingering guilt about the displacement of the native inhabitants. To understand current imagery, it is essential to understand the history of its making, and these essays mesh to create a powerful, interconnected account of image creation over the past 150 years. The contributors, who represent a range of disciplines and specialties, reveal the distortions and fabrications white culture has imposed on significant historical and current events, as represented by treasured artifacts such as photographic images taken of Sitting Bull following his surrender, the national monument at the battlefield of Little Bighorn, nineteenth-century advertising, the television phenomenon Northern Exposure, and the film Dances with Wolves. Well illustrated, this volume demonstrates the complacency of white culture in its representation of its troubled relationship with American Indians.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Constructing the Indian, 1830s–1990s -- The First but Not the Last of the “Vanishing Indians”: Edwin Forrest and Mythic Re-creations of the Native Population -- The Narratives of Sitting Bull’s Surrender: Bailey, Dix & Mead’s Photographic Western -- Reduced to Images: American Indians in Nineteenth-Century Advertising -- “Hudson’s Bay Company Indians”: Images of Native People and the Red River Pageant, 1920 -- Science and Spectacle: Native American Representation in Early Cinema -- “There Is Madness in the Air”: The 1926 Haskell Homecoming and Popular Representations of Sports in Federal Indian Boarding Schools -- Indigenous Versus Colonial Discourse: Alcohol and American Indian Identity -- “My Grandmother Was a Cherokee Princess”: Representations of Indians in Southern History -- Florida Seminoles and the Marketing of the Last Frontier -- Segregated Stories: The Colonial Contours of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument -- A War of Words: How News Frames Define Legitimacy in a Native Conflict -- Going Indian: Discovery, Adoption, and Renaming Toward a “True American,” from Deerslayer to Dances with Wolves -- “Her Beautiful Savage”: The Current Sexual Image of the Native American Male -- Cultural Heritage in Northern Exposure -- Not My Fantasy: The Persistence of Indian Imagery in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman -- Moo Mesa: Some Thoughts on Stereotypes and Image Appropriation -- What Does One Look Like?