Portrayals of Native America
Despite the diversity of North American native cultures, images in the popular imagination often are generalized and stereotyped. These images have been repeated, layer upon layer, in political, historical, and commercial contexts, resulting in blurred perceptions of Native American peoples. Powerful Images: Portrayals of Native America looks at the ways in which Indians have been portrayed by themselves and others from the early 1800s to the present. Paintings, sculptures, traditional native arts, and popular culture objects—neon signs, toys, automobiles, cigar boxes—are used to both reveal and challenge popular assumptions about native North Americans.
A broad overview of traditional Plains and Southwest native art by Emma I. Hanson emphasizes the importance of religion and spirituality, ideal roles of men and women, and individual achievements and aspirations. Sarah E. Boehme focuses on the fixed, iconic images of the “true Indian” that have persisted in Euro-American art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Gerald T. Conaty and Clifford Crane Bear (Siksika) compare native and non-native systems of recording history. James Nottage addresses the impact of popular media—literature, radio, movies, television, advertising, and theater—on our perceptions of Indians. Finally, Michael Leslie considers the theme of identity in contemporary Native American art. A Foreword by Peter Hassrick and Introduction by David Warren (Santa Clara/Tewa) complete the book.
144 pp ~ 100 color photos — ©1998