The Misappropriation Of Indigenous American Cultures

1790 Words8 Pages
The forced assimilation and displacement of Native Americans at the hands of 18th and 19th century European colonists created a legacy of historical trauma and social marginalization concerning Native American peoples that is present still today. While such subjection is not as overt in recent decades as it has been in the past, stereotypes associated with the Native American population hold a strong presence in one of American society’s most influential institutions: popular culture. The misappropriation of indigenous American cultures in the wake of colonialism is grounded in the scientific documentation and recording of indigenous American languages. Written Native languages were established by in efforts to “save” and “preserve”…show more content…
Methodology To explore the symbolic nature of language in current American show business, I will analyze the representation of fictional Native American characters as pertaining to the phonological and morphological features of their spoken discourse. To do so, I will focus primarily on the portrayal of Native American characters in the popular animated Disney film Lilo and Stitch, concentrating particularly on the use of “Hollywood Injun English” (HIE) as described by Anthropologist Barbra Meek to provide an etic perspective of Native peoples. Because my analysis is limited to a single film, the specific discursive elements I observed are not generalizable to all representations of Native American identity in film. However, they do reveal explicit themes present in American culture respecting the relationship between Native American groups and the Anglo-American population beyond the realm of Lilo and Stitch. To better explore these themes, I have transcribed interviews from Native Americans regarding their views of the stereotypes surrounding their cultures. Alongside the examination of HIE in Disney movies, these interviews will allow me to further investigate the implications of nonstandard HIE in film and assist my synthesis of the modern perception of indigenous American culture. Each transcription can be found in
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