Module 2-Post 3: Common Portrayals of Aboriginal People: Paul Waterlander

I found this very helpful website that does a fairly good job of explaining the key basics behind the creation and intent of stereotyping Indigenous people all over the planet.   Here are a few key points made:

  • Portrayals of Aboriginal people as being primitive, violent and devious, or passive and submissive, have become widespread in movies and TV programs and in literature ranging from books to comic strips.
  • Film-maker Arthur Lamothe broke new ground in Québec from 1973 to 1983, with his 13 part documentary series La chronique du Nord-Est du Québec. The series puts First Nations people centre-stage and provides them with a venue to tell their own stories.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) made a real effort to improve the portrayals of Aboriginal people in its television dramas. Spirit Bay, The Beachcombers, North of 60 and The Rez used Native actors to portray their own people, living real lives and earning believable livelihoods in identifiable parts of the country.
  • Ward Churchill argues that the myths and stereotypes built up around the Native American were no accident. He maintains that they served to explain in positive terms the decimation of Native tribes and their ways of life by “advanced” cultures in the name of progress, thereby making it necessary to erase the achievements and very humanity of the conquered people.




One comment

  1. The 1995 cartoon “You don’t look like an Indian” reminds me a lot of people saying, “but you don’t look disabled.” I ask myself, “So what does disability look like? In the modern Western world, with the rise of technology and human capabilities, disability has the power to enhance the diversity of one of man’s greatest, most simple contributions to betterment of this world: perspective.

    Here is the article:

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