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The savage persona the war paint the feathers and the beating drums are just some of the stereotypical images and attributes associated with Native American culture The casting of Native Americans into villainous roles of early film and television has perpetuated a false perception of Native Americans that is still tied to their culture today For centuries Native Americans have been defined by stereotypical perceptions of Indian culture These preconceived notions of Native culture are amplified if not derived from the racially biased portrayal of Native Americans in the mass media and film throughout history Though some of the modern depictions of Native Americans today are more positive and historically accurate Indian culture still carries the stigma of the stereotypes and images established in early film and mediaThough historical ignorance was partially at fault for allowing society to subscribe to such immense cultural misconceptions it was film and television that immortalized these images and made them an acceptable part of the American way Preying on the publics limited knowledge of traditional Indian culture early filmmakers created the Hollywood Indian an inaccurate depiction of Native Americans confining them to either an image of a savage warrior or that of the wise medicine man Michael Hilger describes these representations as the development of Noble to Savage Red Man 1 Hilger continues to analyze this development by pointing out that both representations were subconsciously laced with racism and miscegenation For example even when an Indian is portrayed as a secondary hero he is still deemed inferior to his white counter part and is usually the brunt of racist humor by providing comedy relief which is demeaning to his intelligence and importance in the plot Also any interracial romances occurring between Native and non-Native persons were never dignified with a happy ending These relations usually ended with the Indian giving up his or her lover at the realization that their two cultures could never live together This kind of
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