Indigenous men, just like women, also carry heavy and harsh stereotypes in our high media culture. Like my last post I will be looking into how media portrays men of Indigenous culture especially through Disney. Just like in Pocahontas the men of this children’s film are placed into a strict mold of the “Disney Savage”, the white European men powerfully use the word savage throughout the film to identify the Indigenous culture, especially the men. As children grow up they follow people who tend to mirror them, meaning that if they see people that look like them in an idolized way they start to act and talk like them. With children being very susceptible to media having men that may possibly look like them could be detrimental to the moving forward of indigenous equality in our society. Also on the other hand it could worsen the ideal of Indigenous culture and acceptance through Indigenous people.
This clip from Pocahontas when the two sides are about to go to war after John Smith has been captured by Pocahontas’ tribe. While both sides do refer to each other as savages, the white European side does this out of ignorance and annoyance because there are barriers to “their new world”, however the Indigenous people only refer to the whites as savages because of their unexplained anger and aggression. The lyrics in this particular song are very vulgar and racist. The Europeans refer to the Indigenous people as barely human, savages, filthy little heathens, skin’s a hellish red, vermin, only good when dead, not like you or me which means they must be evil, dirty red skin devils, and destroy their evil race until there is not a trace left. This song outlines racism, genocide, prejudice, stereotyping, and ignorance from the Europeans.
While I was looking on youtube for the Pocahontas videos I came across this video which is from Peter Pan. When I was thinking about what forms of proof I could use for the portrayal of Indigenous men this movie did not come to mind at first but after watching the video I realized this is just as awful as Pocahontas. As the Indigenous have a pow wow around their fire the lyrics to this is unbelievably racist. First of all the name of the song is “What Makes the Red Man Red” and throughout they use the word squaw to describe the female tribe members. This is a very degrading word for the Indigenous culture. Also what is awful about it, is that the Indigenous people themselves are using these words and singing the song. At the end of the song Wendy refers to herself as a squaw, which could be represented as the white society is learning about the Indigenous culture through false forms of media, like this song.
Overall, as it can be noted in my past post and this one Disney has created a harmful image of the Indigenous community. They start it off from the younger generation as a basis to what we learn in our school systems. The school systems, however would be a whole other blog in general to tackle, but should be noted that our history shapes us today and the wrong information or lack of modern equality stemmed through our own means of information can be harmed through prejudices and stereotypes in our media.