Beyond the American Indian Stereotype

There's More to Me Than What You See

by Joely Proudfit


Many historical misrepresentations of Native Americans are found in primary school textbooks and classroom materials; these materials set the baseline for learned stereotypes on American Indians.

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Cover image for Beyond the American Indian Stereotype

February 2021


Pages 245
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Race and Ethnicity/American Indian Studies
  Current Events and Issues/Society
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A comprehensive exploration of misappropriation and stereotyping related to American Indians that addresses the dynamics of proactive strategies and the need for critical reflective decision making by students to move beyond these stereotypes of American Indians.

The pervasive nature of the appropriation of American Indian culture goes far beyond sports teams and mascots. The extent to which the appropriation and misrepresentation of American Indian culture exists is offensive and yet many residents of North America are unaware of the harm colloquialisms like "low man on the totem pole" or the inappropriate use of cultural artifacts in popular culture can cause. This book's author proposes that by moving beyond stereotypes, American Indians can have a better chance at living a full, authentic, and engaged life.

Beyond the American Indian Stereotype explores the pervasiveness of the appropriation of American Indian culture in a variety of areas by uncovering examples of contemporary Native American appropriation. The work provides readers with an informed lens through which to view contemporary native culture. Some of the subject areas include depictions in social groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the fictional portrayal of American Indians in literature and media, and more. Attention is also paid to portrayals of American Indian women in Hollywood's feature films.


    • Documents how the gender representations of American Indians in movies is a complex history of abusive portrayals and stereotypes that falsely objectify lifestyles and culture and communicate these depictions as social reality
    • Defines and explains important terms—prejudice, discrimination, power, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, tolerance, racism, misappropriation, misrepresentation—that are critical to the consideration of the topic
    • Enables readers to compare and contrast essential concepts in case studies and engage in meaningful, reflective assessments
Author Info

Joely Proudfit (Luiseño), PhD, is chair and professor of American Indian Studies and director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center at California State University San Marcos. She is coauthor of a ten-volume series On Indian Ground: A Return to Indigenous Knowledge—Generating Hope, Leadership and Sovereignty through Education.

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American Indians and Popular Culture cover imageAmerican Indian Identity cover imageUrban American Indians cover image
American Indian Stories of Success cover imageReservation American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Mental Health cover image

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