Questions for discussion:

  1. What stereotypical physical, behavioral and psychological traits are typically associated with Native Americans?
  2. What stereotypes about Indians does the Ten Little Indians song reinforce? View the Ten Little Indians video clip.
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  3. What other sorts of stereotypes are revealed in the clip? Notice the facial characteristics of the Native Americans shown. How can we tell they are stereotypical?
  4. What does the clip tell us about the violent relationship between the Europeans and the indigenous people of North America?
  5. Why is the picture of the man sitting at a desk and the audio of the ceremony at the end of the clip not stereotypical?
  6. Where do we learn information about people who are not like us? Why and how might we be learning stereotypes?

Here is the quote from the book Survey of American History that is so hard to read in the clip:

For several years, the Indians had given the Virginia colonists little trouble. A kind of truce had resulted from the capture of the Chief Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas and her marriage (1614) to John Rolfe. Going with her husband on a visit to England, Pocahontas as a Christian convert and a gracious woman stired up interest in prospects to civilize the Indians.

"Ten Little Indians" is a clip from a video called We the People made by the Education Video Center, 55 E. 25th St., Suite 407, NY, NY 10010. It was created by high school students in New York City.

Visit the following websites to learn some things about Native Americans that can help correct stereotypes:

Pueblo Cultural Center
Oneida Indian Nation of New York
American Indian Philosophy Association

Read Ward Churchill's article "Crimes Against Humanity" in Andersen/ Hill Collins. Use his reasoning to construct an argument to back up the decision of the Burnsville Athletic Club (below) to drop stereotypical team names. What is your own opinion on this controversy?

Victory in Burnsville, Minnesota, against racist stereotypes of Indians Minneapolis: In the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville , the Board of Directors of the Burnsville Athletic Club (BAC) on July 11, 1999 adopted team-naming guidelines, according to which it “will not employ a mascot, emblem, name, logo, or official symbol which is considered potentially discriminatory and/or offensive to an individual or group (i.e. gender, race, religion).” In a separate resolution applying these guidelines, the BAC board specifically dropped the names “Indians,” “Braves” “Warriors” “Redskins” “Chiefs” currently in use in its sports clubs roster of over 100 teams. The BAC has a semiofficial role in Burnsville and the surrounding communities in organizing sports activities and providing team uniforms and paraphernalia.


Go back the Understanding stereotypes unit