Media Stereotyping: Common Portrayals of Aboriginal People (M2, #4)

This site, created by the Media Awareness Network, focuses on how Aboriginal people have been misrepresented in the media for over a century. It then goes on to explain how, in the 1980s and 1990s, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) made an effort to improve the portrayals of Aboriginal people in its television dramas such as The Beachcombers and North of 60.

Common stereotyping traps include:

  • Romanticization (indian princess, native warrior, noble savage)
  • Historical Inaccuracies
  • Stereotyping by Omission
  • Simplistic Characterization

I was especially interested in learning more about “stereotyping by omission”, as I hadn’t really considered to what extent this has/does occur. The statement that Aboriginals are “the only population to be portrayed far more often in historical context than as contemporary people” is quite disconcerting. In Canada, the National Film Board tried to counter this cultural amnesia by producing a  four-part drama series entitled Daughters of the Country (1986) — created to “re-open the history books” and document the evolution of the Métis people through the lives of four strong women.


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