In a recent newscast, ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) interviewed Augsburg University Associate Professor Eric Buffalohead about persistent stereotypes of Native Americans in film. Buffalohead chairs the Department of American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous Studies and is the co-editor, with Professor Elise Marubbio, of the book “Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory.”
“I’ve been teaching “American Indian in the Cinema” for going on 30 years, and people have asked me, what’s the solution to some of these problems?” said Buffalohead. “And it’s contemporary representations. The big theme that you walk away from my course with is that most of our images are stuck in time, meaning that they’re somewhere in the past. People don’t see us as contemporary—they see us as these images in the old West and very much stereotypes of plains or southwest Indians. They don’t see the real diversity of Indigenous people in the Americas.”
The conversation with anchor Aliyah Chavez also touched on expanding representations in television through shows like “Rutherford Falls” and “Reservation Dogs,” translation of major films into the Navajo and Comanche languages, and Professor Marubbio’s work on representations of Native women in film. Find the full interview in the ICT newscast archive (segment begins at 6:15).