Modern Stereotypes Of Native Americans

747 Words3 Pages
The modern day stereotypes of Native American people of Central and South America, and their way of life prior to European colonization are that; Native American people were savage, war mongering, uneducated, godless and uncivilized. It is also sometimes viewed that the Native American people of Central and South America were a simple culture who were “at one” with the land and at peace with one another. The observations of pre-Columbian Indigenous culture are in many ways are accurately depicted in today’s modern culture. Both of the stereotypes are accurate in the sense that the larger Indian tribes were brutal and did enslave some of the smaller Indian tribes. They also employed ritualistic human sacrifices that…show more content…
In Clawson’s text, he mentions that “At the time of Columbus’ discovery of the New World, there may have been as many as 5,000 distinct Native American groups, occupying South America, with hundreds of others residing in Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.” (152). This demonstrates that even though all of these practices were being used, there were just too many different tribes to place such a broad label on all of them. I believe that today’s modern views of pre-Columbian Native Americans, is indeed the most accurate description. In Mel Gibson’s 2006 movie Apocalypto, both sides of the stereotype are clearly shown. There was the peaceful close knit tribe that was small in numbers, and then there was the very large Mayan tribe with thousands of Indians who were trying to enslave the small tribe and sacrifice them to the gods. Chapter 7 of Clawson’s text describes this in vivid…show more content…
There are some cases where this may be true but it isn’t accurate enough to depict Native American people as a whole. Typical to the term “stereotype”, we categorize a group by its’ most desecrating and demeaning characteristics. To describe all Native American tribesmen as “savage and uncivilized”, would be disingenuous and far too broad a label. It does not take into consideration any of the many wonderful contributions to our very own civilization today, associated with the Native Americans of Central and South America. Therefore, it is easy to see how these people today would be grouped with the worst elements of this culture, and not the best and most
Open Document