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Native Americans: Imagery and Stereotypes
IAH 211C - Fall 2014
Assignment
Webster's Dictionary gives the following definition of a stereotype:
"An unvarying form or pattern; specifically a fixed or conventional notion or conception,
as of a person, group, idea etc, held by a number of people and allowing for no
individuality, critical judgment etc"
Webster's further defines something that is stereotyped as:
"having the nature of a stereotype; especially hackneyed; trite; not original or
individualized"
To a great extent, the white, Western mainstream view of Native Americans and
their culture is based heavily on out-dated stereotypes that say as much (if not more)
about white, Western conceptions of the world, and the place of white Euro-Americans in
it, as they do about the reality of Native American life and culture. Over the opening
weeks of this course we have looked at how stereotypical images of Native Americans
have been created and perpetuated over time. This has resulted in warped and stereotyped
views of indigenous peoples in the mainstream of Euro-American culture. The outcome is
self-perpetuating stereotypes of Indians in mainstream Euro-American popular culture.
For this assignment, you will write a paper that gives an overview of how and
why stereotypical images of Native Americans were first created, and then perpetuated
over time, through still images, novels, Hollywood films, professional sports mascots and
other mediums. Your paper should be based solely upon course materials for this class,
and NOT on outside sources and research.
Hints
A good paper should include chronological discussion of each of the following points:
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The creation and reproduction of the earliest images of Native Americans in
Europe, and the European cultural/artistic influences that shaped them;
The influence of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans novel;
The influence that Edward Curtis' photographs of Native Americans had on the
image of Indians, and how Curtis was influenced by his own times;
Depictions of Indians in Hollywood films (IMDB for character names);

Critical evaluations of those film depictions (the Jacqueline Kilpatrick D2L
reading and/or the Reel Injun documentary);
• The use of Native Americans as mascots in sports in the U.S.
Paper Structure:
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Page 1: Title/cover page with your name, the date, and a creative title for your
paper (this allows you to establish the tone for what follows);
Pages 2, 3, 4, and 5: Your essay, which should be four full pages of text;
Page 6: Bibliography;
Writing to the required length is an important part of the exercise. I will stop grading
at the bottom of the fourth page of text, so do not go over-length!

Formatting:
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Your paper should be double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1”
margins, with page numbers inserted bottom right (not in 'headers').
Your thesis statement must be italicized or in bold.
Your essay must provide citations/references for all the course materials you use as
evidence to support your argument. You may use whatever form of citation you are
most familiar and comfortable with - footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citation.
When quoting from the D2L readings, or novels, give the author’s name and the title
of the document or novel, as well as the page number your information/quote comes
from. If you use lecture material, give the title of the lecture as listed on the Syllabus.
References to the films and documentaries should also be given their own citations.
This is not a research paper, thus you should NOT include material you have found
on the internet. If caught doing so you will receive a failing grade for the paper, and
possibly the class (see page 4-5 of the Syllabus for more on Academic Honesty).

Grading:
Your paper will be graded, based upon the following criteria:
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The clarity of your thesis statement;
The strength and coherence of your overview of the topic;
Your use of course materials (lectures, D2L readings, novels, films, and
documentaries) and only course materials to support your argument;
The clarity with which you explain the development of, and make your
argument about, the different Native stereotypes;
The elegance and 'readability' of your prose;
Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax;
Your adherence to the above-listed structure and format guidelines.

Due Date:
The assignment is due at the start of class on Tuesday, October 14th.

Additional Requirements 
Min Pages: 4 
Level of Detail: Only answer needed