American Indian Stereotypes

As indigenous people of an invaded land, we have been vilified in government reports, literature, and film. We have been the subject of commercial and political presentations in ways that have caused many people to fear us, or to laugh at us, or to be disgusted with us. Stereotypes have caused lawmakers, educators, authors, and parents to misrepresent us, to legislate and vote against us. Stereotypes can lead to acts of violence against us. Toys and children's books often treat us as buffoons and disparage our spiritual practices and ceremonial objects. We must speak out against discrimination and not contribute to it by our actions and words. Some objects seem harmless, but if they cause people to think of us as entirely in the past, as primitive, as a single culture, then we are contributing to false thoughts that serve to obscure our rich diverse cultures, our innovative intelligence, and our contemporary successes. We must be proud despite what others may think of us.

Karen Coody Cooper
1228 N  E  Street
Lake Worth, Florida 33460

Devon Mihesuah wrote American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities. She also has a website on American Indian health. Learn more about her at or

All contents of this website    © Karen Coody Cooper 2018