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).
Elise Marubbio, associate professor of American Indian Studies, shed light on the history of American Indians in film in the wake of a social media frenzy regarding a group of American Indian actors who walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie due to its portrayal of faulty stereotypes. Marubbio’s doctoral work in Cultural Studies focused on the issues of race in film and media, with particular attention to the representation of Native Americans in American popular culture and Hollywood cinema.
In the article, “Adam Sandler movie flap sparks debate over American Indian roles in media,” Marubbio explained that tribes of the Great Plains often are portrayed living in Monument Valley – the legendary site of many John Wayne-John Ford movies, which is located on the Arizona-Colorado border, largely on the Navajo reservation.
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Eric Buffalohead, associate professor and chair of American Indian Studies at Augsburg College, was interviewed by Al Jazeera America for an article that was included as part of a series on Native American gangs. Buffalohead said that the role of gangs isn’t that different than the work of the American Indian Movement because both are about “protecting yourself in a culture of violence.” He also reflected on the interactions between gangs from different cultures.
Read, “A Cross to Bear,” on the Al Jazeera America website.
A community powwow to celebrate the traditions, cultures, and accomplishments of Augsburg College’s Native American students will be held March 31 at Augsburg College.
“The powwow is a chance for Augsburg’s indigenous students to share the traditions and culture of our peoples with the community,” said Jennifer Simon, event organizer and director of Augsburg’s American Indian Student Services.
“It also is an important opportunity for our community to celebrate the educational accomplishments of our native students and to plant the seed in young people that education can be part of their futures. This year’s program includes a special ceremony to honor our largest group to date of graduating native students.” Continue reading “Powwow to celebrate traditions, cultures, accomplishments of Native American students”
After returning from New Zealand this summer, Richmond Appleton ’09 was so enthusiastic that he wrote a letter to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
Appleton spent five weeks in New Zealand studying ecology, biodiversity, and climate change with a group of Augsburg students led by biology professor Brian Corner and political science professor Joe Underhill. Their group explored the unique flora and fauna of the island as well as the distinctive political culture that has made it a leader in environmental policy. Continue reading “Meeting with the mayor”