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Indigenous Representations in the Media




The Imaginary Indian: The Imagine of the Indian In Canadian Culture

by Daniel Francis, 1992

The Imaginary Indianis a fascinating, revealing history of the "Indian" image mythologized by popular Canadian culture since 1850, propagating stereotypes that exist to this day. Images of the Indian have always been fundamental to Canadian culture.

The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present

by Robert F. Berkhofer, 1979

Traces the development of the stereotyped images of the American Indian and the misconceptions that have sustained a regrettable lack of understanding.

Film & Video

Just Get Over It

YouTube video, 2011 (5:48 min)

This video is a call for justice for Aboriginal Peoples from PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada) aboriginal activists explaining the issues behind the union's campaign for justice for Aboriginal people.

I'm Not the Indian You Had in Mind

National Screen Institute (5:12 min)

Poem by Thomas King, words spoken by prominent Aboriginal actors. This video shows media clips representing stereotypes of Aboriginal peoples.

Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian

YouTube trailer, 2010. (1:33 min)

Winner of the Peabody Award and three Geminis. A look at the portrayal of Native Americans in film, dating back to the origins of the industry. Highly recommended.

Is it Time for a Native Bechdel Test?

This article looks at how viewers should evaluate films and television featuring Native characters.  The broader website on which this article is featured is called Native Appropriations and, "is a forum for discussing representations of Native peoples, including stereotypes, cultural appropriation, news, activism, and more."

Top 10 Indigenous Films of All Time (2014)

From the website: "With the 15th Anniversary of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival just around the corner, MUSKRAT is celebrating Indigenous cinema this week! We invited Indigenous film critic and programmer Jesse Wente to share his list of top 10 Indigenous made films of all time."

Originals First-OF:  Frank Waln at the Field Museum of Natural History

Youtube Video, 2014 (4.01 min)

Lakota Rapper Frank Waln discusses how museums perpetuate the sterotype that native cultures are dead cultures of the past. "We're a people with a past, not of the past."

Indigenous Cinema

From the National Film Board of Canada. A repository of Indigenous made films.

First Female Indigenous Air Team in Manitoba 

Two Manitoba women made history by becoming the province's first female Indigenous air ambulance team. 


Indian and Cowboy

This website chronicles podcasts of Indigenous media makers, storytellers, artists & musicians who share their stories and histories.

From the website: "We're a network of media makers, writers, artists, storytellers, musicians & producers that aim to disrupt, engage & empower by reclaiming our histories through the intersection of media, technology & good old fashioned Indigenous storytelling. We are guided by our Ancestors, fueled by community and driven by our love for the land. These are our stories."


Nike Gets It Right; Brand Collaborates With O’odham Designer

This article documents a collaboration between Nike and Salt River tribal member Dwayne Manuel to produce sneakers as part of Nike's Superbowl shoe collection. This article is written by Adrienne Keene, a Cherokee Nation citizen and a postdoctoral researcher with a life mission to provide a critical lens on representations of Native peoples.

Native Appropriations

An excellent blog which discusses current appropriations of Aboriginal and American Indian culture in North America.

Reporting in Indigenous Communities (RIIC)

In this article entitled, News Stereotypes of Aboriginal Peoples, some common stereotypes found in the  media are identified. 

The Manitoba Historical Society

Fluffs and Feathers: An Exhibit on the Symbols of Indianess

By Peter Geller, Department of History, Carlton University, 1993.

Woodland Cultural Centre

Produced by the Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, Ontario. 

Also available: Deborah Doxtator, Fluffs and Feathers: An Exhibit on the Symbols of Indianness, a Resource Guide (Brantford, Ontario: Woodland Cultural Centre, 1992 [revised edition]).

De la raquette à l'internet

Du site web : Émission radio sur les cultures autochtones au 21e siècle.

Assessing Sir John's Complex Legacy Through Political Cartoons

By Thomas Peace, ActiveHistory.ca, 2015.

This article uses political cartoons to examine the legacy of Sir John A. MacDonald and his relationship with Indigenous people in Canada upon settlement. 

NFB Launches Indigenous Cinema website with more than 200 films to stream

From the website: The National Film Board of Canada has launched Indigenous Cinema, a website that offers free streaming of more than 200 titles by Indigenous directors. The website is part of the NFB's three-year Indigenous Action Plan and will also feature playlists and filmmaker biographies.

Inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week

From the website: A new fashion week in Toronto promises to challenge mainstream perceptions of Indigenous people and culture.

The inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto will feature "the most distinct and progressive Indigenous artists working in fashion, textiles and craft."

Founder and Dene artist and designer Sage Paul says it's "about carving out space for Indigenous fashion, craft and textiles."

The four-day festival will include runway shows featuring artists and designers from across Canada, the United States and Greenland, and feature men's and women's wear, streetwear, avant-garde, traditional regalia, jewellery and craft.

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