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Shadows of the Indian: Stereotypes in American Culture
     

Shadows of the Indian: Stereotypes in American Culture

by Raymond William Stedman, Rennard Strickland (Foreword by), John Alcorn (Illustrator)
 

The Indian of popular culture has never existed anywhere—except in imagination. Yet these illusory Indians are so authentic to most Americans that no alternate images are acceptable. Even in recent decades, when increased awareness of the sensitivities of minority groups has become more prevalent, American Indians are seen as almost mythic figures.

Raymond

Overview

The Indian of popular culture has never existed anywhere—except in imagination. Yet these illusory Indians are so authentic to most Americans that no alternate images are acceptable. Even in recent decades, when increased awareness of the sensitivities of minority groups has become more prevalent, American Indians are seen as almost mythic figures.

Raymond William Stedman examines images of American Indians from the first contact with whites, who viewed them as a “curiosity,” through incarnations including the Noble Savage and, to the Puritans, an almost Satanic presence lurking in the woods. Since the time of Pocahontas, the “Indian maiden” has been idealized  as lovely, compassionate—and ready to sacrifice her feelings.

The stereotype of the “savage Indian” with a raised hatchet or flaming arrow was never forgotten. But  the commercially minded soon realized that Indian images could sell merchandise. American medicine shows featured feathered “chiefs,” there in person to do the selling. And Indian images are still used to hawk products and sports teams today.

Drawing on literature, art, and popular culture, Stedman isolates counterfeit images of American Indians.  He contends that American culture rarely portrays Indians as they really are, presenting them instead as distorted, false shadows.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This study of racial and cultural stereotyping of the Indian in American culture is recounted with both wit and irony and makes delightful reading.”—Robert E. Bieder, Indiana Magazine of History

“Strong, irreverent, capricious, useful and fun.”—True West

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780806119632
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date:
03/28/1986
Edition description:
Reprinted
Pages:
302
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author


Raymond William Stedman was Professor of English and Communication, Bucks County Community College, Newton, Pennsylvania, and author of The Serials: Suspense and Drama by Installment.

A legal historian of Osage and Cherokee heritage, Rennard Strickland is considered a pioneer in introducing Indian law into university curriculum. He has written and edited more than 35 books and is frequently cited by courts and scholars for his work as revision editor in chief of the Handbook of Federal Indian Law. Strickland has been involved in the resolution of a number of significant Indian cases. He was the founding director of the Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy at the University of Oklahoma. He is the first person to have served both as president of the Association of American Law Schools and as chair of the Law School Admissions Council. He is also the only person to have received both the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) Award and the American Bar Association's Spirit of Excellence Award. Strickland was the dean of the law school from 1997 to 2002.

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