Native American Women, Violence, and Feminism

Racism comes in more than two colors. Often times racism is viewed as a black and white issue. Racism towards Native Americans can be over looked. For example, how many mascots in college and professional sports are Indian-themed? Just about every one that chiefdoes not feature animals. The fact that we casually place Native Americans in the same ranks as animals shows how oblivious Americans are. Women are another minority often over looked. So when I read about the mistreatment of Native American women in film, I knew it was a topic I had to cover. Violence against women is always wrong. So why is acceptable in film?

In the blog post on Bitch Flicks titled “Violence Against Indigenous Women: Fun, Sexy, and No Big Deal on the Big Screen”, different instances of violence against in Native women in film is address. One example is Pocahontas. The colonial men arrive and try to take over. John Smith goes out to see how violent the natives are. He hears a sound and is about ready to shoot when he realizes its Pocahontas. The only thing keeping him from shooting her is her beauty. By being objectified, Pocahontas is able to save her town.Pocahontas

Also in the film, she and her tribe are often given animal like qualities. Even when they are saved from being killed, they are not are valued as equals. This movie helps perpetuate harmful stereotypes. This problem can be seen across the board in current popular culture. From Twilight to Apocolyto, Indians are pigeonholed into awful roles that make them appear subhuman. Even older films that had Native American characters were not positive.

In the children’s movie Peter Pan, Native Americans are pictured in less favorable light. They are hunted like animals. This is troubling to see particularly in a Disney film. These values are taught to children and have become ingrained into our society.  What’s worse is the treatment of Princess Tiger Lily. She is tied up and is almost killed via drowning. The fact that parents let young children watch films like this and do not even realize the harm being done is sad. This article makes an excellent point of clarifying this situation.

tiger lily

Before reading the article, I did not realize that how often Native American women are mistreated. Many people think that this is a nonissue and that people are being oversensitive about the topic. That’s the worst part the racism. It’s invisible to the naked eye. It’s not until you apply microscopic analysis to the problem that you even realize that it is a problem. This article needs to be shared on public forums so this issue can be raised. By bringing the problem to the people, change can be made.

This article was very brief but also very informative. This is a problem that should be written about and expanded upon more often so that the film industry comes to represent all people fairly and equal. This can help change popular culture and allow America to become a more accepting country for all people.