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Portrayals of Cultures

Native American imagery reaches every demographic, even as it is imagined and is often at the expense of Native people. Representation matters as misrepresentation is harmful to the well-being of Indigenous youth, continues the process of colonization, and subconsciously negatively impacts mainstream support for Indigenous sovereignty, nation-building, self-determination, and more.

How do we reconcile these contradictions? Recognizing and discussing the contradictions and atrocities that coincided with these stories may be a first step, as well as focusing on the many achievements throughout time and contemporary communities’ issues and cultures that continue today. Here are just a few Indigenous creatives thatmade – and are making – strides today - see Contemporary Perspectives section for more!

Poster for the Show Reservation Dogs
Photo still of FX’s “Reservation Dogs”, a contemporary comedy-drama television show featuring four young Native actors figuring out life both on and off the reservation. Directed by Sterlin Harjo (Seminole) and Taika Waititi (born Te-Whanau-a-Apanui, Maori). Wikimedia, 2021.