(image from Disney’s Peter Pan)
There is a new Adam Sandler movie on Netflix called “The Ridiculous 6”. In April of this year Native actors walked off set when no one would listen to their requests that the insulting display of Native American culture be changed. Stereotypes of Native culture are still around, but there aren’t enough people fighting for change. I have found that representation of Natives is rarely found in any media, positive representation even less so. Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison collects statistics on diversity represented in children’s literature. “The books represented by these numbers are based on everything that comes into the library annually. This includes picture books, novels, and non-fiction.” From their collection of 3500 books in 2014 only 38 were about American Indians and of those 38, 20 were written by American Indians. [link] If we don’t actively take part in making our cultures known, understood, and respected, then we can not expect change to happen. It’s difficult, but we need to talk about stereotyping and how it affects not only our communities, but the individual as well. The more these types of issues get discussed the more can be done to resolve them and we will have problems like “The Ridiculous 6” happen less and less often. Talk to your community and Tribal leaders, make a plan, post something on social media, talk to your families and children, bring these issues to light and let each other know that none of us is alone.
This first article from Indian Country Today Media Network discusses the walk off and was originally posted on the 23rd of April 2015.
Native Actors Walk off Set of Adam Sandler Movie After Insults to Women, Elders
This article and 3 minute video from TakePart discusses the importance of positive representation of Native culture in media and was originally posted on the 11th of December 2015.
Native Americans Dispel Stereotypes in Response to Adam Sandler Movie