Since I decided to write about Native representations in the mainstream media. It’s an article I’m extremely proud of. Although the academic in me now cringes at my clumsy citations and my 19 year old naivety. The article means as much now as it did then. It is one of the reasons I decided to study archaeology to understand more about my ancestry and how I can positively influence the depictions of Natives in history and in the media. Don’t get me wrong, I do not claim to be Native American, I am not part of any tribe. I was not raised on a reservation, hell I’m not even American, I was raised in London to a Colombian mother. Everything I have learnt about North American Indian culture is from books and friends. However, my life and interests have led me down a path of studying Indigenous history and culture. As an English girl, some might be a little confused about why I’m so keen on Native issues. But these core problems, are not just Native problems as they say ‘white silence is white violence’. Selfishly as an academic I want real representations of Indians from North to the South to be based in realism and not steeped in Western fantasy of ‘cowboys and Indians’ in order to educate and inform.
Lancaster in the movie, Apache in 1954.
I want Native Americans to have the opportunities that were given to me. Whilst in Japan, my article had caught the eye of a film producer currently working on a film with Native people and cultures, he wanted to know the right way to portray without offence. Although his intentions were pure, I politely responded to his email with a little sarcasm. Stating that he should perhaps ask the Natives themselves and not some undergrad student living in Tokyo. These issues are not mine, but I will strive to make them more visible. Since that article was published ten years ago, I have took a step back. I realised people believed I was an expert on the subject instead of a teenager with an interest. Nothing has changed though, I want people to view Natives as real people not caricatures, not Tonto, not Disney’s Pocahontas or werewolf Jacob. I will make my voice heard not over Natives but along side them.