Native American Representations

I chose to compare video “Powwow Trail- Keeping the Beat” and the song from Disney’s Peter Pan. The song comes after Peter Pan and the gang save Tiger Lily from the pirates. This particular song is even called “What Made the Red Man Red.” The song is basically saying the Native American man was kissed by a woman and blushed until he was red and now their people are forever red-skinned.

I wanted to compare this with the Native American Reel video because it talks about a young man who participates in the dancing and culture of a powwow. He speaks about his people’s traditions and mentions the fact that there are numerous nations within the Native community who speak different languages, look different, and have many walks of life. The Powwow’s are a way to bring the communities together and they are open to the public so they too can learn and admire the culture.

He mentions the fact that he goes and dances in order to encourage the younger generation to participate in the traditions and culture too. These both fit with the “Myths and Stereotypes about Native Americans” reading by Fleming because the number six myth talked about is about how Native children do not come with the innate knowledge of their history from birth. They too must be taught the traditions, languages, cultural practices, and ideals of their people.

In Peter Pan, the sign language used to speak to Peter and the way Peter is allowed to wear the sacred feather headdress seems misrepresented. But the readings have brought the point that Native Americans are generalized as one large nation and of the same race. But, there are countless nations within nations and languages and cultural beliefs that can vary from just a few miles of distance.

The feather dresses and the pipe passed around and smoked in Peter Pan may be generally similar to real-life tribes, but the song even says “no matter what’s been written or said; now you know the story of the red man.” This points out that false teachings and traditions can be passed on and believed just as easy and true traditions and there are countless Native American stereotypes that have become mainstream.


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