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Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema, and the Colonization of American Indians

Overview

Chosen an “Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in the United States” by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights.

In this volume of incisive essays, Ward Churchill looks at representations of American Indians in literature and film, delineating a history of cultural propaganda that has served to support the continued colonization of Native America.

During each phase of the genocide of American Indians, the media has ...

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Overview

Chosen an “Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in the United States” by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights.

In this volume of incisive essays, Ward Churchill looks at representations of American Indians in literature and film, delineating a history of cultural propaganda that has served to support the continued colonization of Native America.

During each phase of the genocide of American Indians, the media has played a critical role in creating easily digestible stereotypes of Indians for popular consumption. Literature about Indians was first written and published in order to provoke and sanctify warfare against them. Later, the focus changed to enlisting public support for “civilizing the savages,” stripping them of their culture and assimilating them into the dominant society. Now, in the final stages of cultural genocide, it is the appropriation and stereotyping of Native culture that establishes control over knowledge and truth.

The primary means by which this is accomplished is through the powerful publishing and film industries. Whether they are the tragically doomed “noble savages” walking into the sunset of Dances With Wolves or Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan, the exotic mythical Indians constitute no threat to the established order.

Literature and art crafted by the dominant culture are an insidious political force, disinforming people who might otherwise develop a clearer understanding of indigenous struggles for justice and freedom. This book is offered to counter that deception, and to move people to take action on issues confronting American Indians today.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A revised and expanded collection of Churchill's essays first released in 1992, dealing with the representations of American Indians in literature and film. A sample of essay topics: Carlos Castaneda--the greatest hoax since Piltdown man; colonialism and the expropriation of indigenous spiritual tradition in contemporary academia; a critique of James A. Clifton's The Invented Indian; and the role of detective fiction in Indian country ("Hi-ho Hillerman...."). Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872863484
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 261
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Ward Churchill has achieved an unparalleled reputation as a scholar-activist and analyst of indigenous issues. He is a Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a leading member of AIM, and the author of numerous books, including A Little Matter of Genocide, Struggle for the Land, and Fantasies of the Master Race.
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Table of Contents

Unraveling the Codes of Oppression: American Indians in Literature and Film
Literature and the Colonization of American Indians 1
It Did Happen Here: Sand Creek, Scholarship and the American Character 19
Carlos Castaneda: The Greatest Hoax Since Piltdown Man 27
Hi-Ho Hillerman ... (Away): The Role of Detective Fiction in Indian Country 67
A Little Matter of Genocide: Colonialism and the Expropriation of Indigenous Spiritual Tradition in Contemporary Academia 99
The New Racism: A Critique of James A. Clifton's The Invented Indian 121
Beyond Ethnicity? Werner Sollors' Deepest Avatar of Racism 137
In the Service of Empire: A Critical Assessment of Arnold Krupat's The Turn to the Native 149
"Interpreting" the American Indian? A Critique of Michael Castro's Apologia for Poetic Racism 161
Fantasies of the Master Race: The Stereotyping of American Indians in Film 167
And They Did it Like Dogs in the Dirt: An Indigenist Analysis of Black Robe 225
Lawrence of South Dakota 239
Index 243
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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    Probing a taboo topic in history

    Ward Churchill's well researched study compiled in the essays Fantasies of the Master Race probes the senstive issues of subjugation and genocide of the Native Americans. Through in depth analysis of literature and film, the authors of each essay delve into the misconceptions, stereotypes and painful truths about American history. Hopefully, the reader will gain a greater appreciation of the injustices of racial prejudice and the brutalities involved in forced land aquisition in the name of democracy and freedom. It is time for Americans to face up to the harsh realities of how unjustly its government and media portrayed the indigenous people of our great country. The only criticism is that the print is very small.

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