Throughout the course we will be examining how the stereotypes of the indigenous people of America have formed and changed over time.
Thus far in class we have examined the representations of Native Americans in William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, Mary Rowlandson’s A Narrative of the Captivity, and Ben Franklin’s “Notes Concerning the Savages”. As we move forward into the period of Expansionism, a few key stereotypes should become apparent to you (if they haven’t already).
- The Native Americans as the wild, uncivilized, untamed Savage.
- The Native American ‘Chief’, the wise and stately leader of the Native American people.
- The Nobel Savage who is directly in touch with nature and the natural world.
- The Indian Princess, a beautiful Native American maiden that usually saves the life of a white man.
- The Squaw, a wild Native American woman who seduces white men.
- The idea of “The Native American People”, or the “American Indian” as one homogeneous
us group…there were in fact hundreds of different tribes or nations with distinctly different cultures.
Be sure to consider what stereotypes are being used and for what purpose as a examine the role of Native Americans throughout American Literature.
Additionally, click here to listen to a podcast over the Stereotype of the Indian Princess and the Myth of Pocahontas – its entertaining and will provide a LOT of context for the analysis you will be conducting in class!