European invention of Native Americans
When we talk amongst ourselves about American history, it’s hard not to imagine the
Native Americans that once wandered and hunted in the wilderness of this country.
During the time when the thick forest covered the plains of the Midwest and the wild
buffalos roamed through the wilderness; Native Americans were considered to be the
single most important indigenous people to have lived in America. Today, “Native
Americans were and are real, but the Indians was White invention and still remains
largely a white image if not stereotyped” (Berkhofer, p.3).
As far as I can remember, my first introduction to Native Americans and their culture
were those depicted by teachers and my parents. In school, I learned that the Indians and
the Pilgrims sat together and ate the first Thanksgiving meal, and at home, I can
remember playing cowboys and Indians with my older brother. Looking back and
reflecting my childhood playing antics with my older brother, he never once chose to be
the Indian because the cowboy was always the good guy and I being the younger brother
had no choice but to be the enemy Indian. Besides, carrying a silver plastic gun with a
sheriff’s badge was a lot “cooler” than carrying two wooden sticks and trying to mimic it
as a bow and arrow. As I got older, media in the form of print comic books and television
became the source of my interpretation of Native American culture. For example, Native
American’s in comic books were typically cast as ignoble savages with their face painted
and feathers worn on their heads. They were often seen eating their meals with their
hands and rituals with magic potions were used to help wounded Indians heal and get
better. Likewise, western movies depicted Native Americans as savages by depicting
scenes of captive cowboys being brutally mutilated. In one particular scene of a western
movie that I saw, I recall a...