Practically invisible

Media images of Native Americans are few and far between


Mrs. Giancola

Seniors Brianna Gonzalez, Jersie Silverheels, Tristan Jensen and Nick Weston are all students in the Native American Film and Literature class. They recently discussed the lack of a Native presence in the mainstream media.

Breanna Negron, Staff Writer

In the world we live in today, we become more and more dependent on technology, along with social media to contact friends and family and check on them. Many cultures are visible in social media: Spanish culture, Arabian culture and Chinese culture, to name a few. But one of the cultures that is rarely seen in social media and in the world in general is Native American Culture. Although, viewers often see the stereotypical “Indians” in movies.

How much of the Native culture do you actually see and that is actually true?  The most recent, somewhat known movie based on the culture was in 2012, named Crooked Arrows. The one before that was Rabbit Proof Fence, made in 2002.

Jersie Silverheels, a Gowanda High School student who is Native American, discussed this topic. “You don’t see Native American actors in movies,” she said. “Jay Silverheels is like the only actor you see; he played in the old Lone Ranger movie.” She added that nothing is really brought up about them on Facebook.

Other Native American Gowanda High School students shared similar views on the topic.

Senior Brianna Gonzales said, “You don’t see anything about Native Americans on TV or Instagram.” She then said, “Native American images are not really out there” (in the media or on TV).

This may be disappointing to a lot of people because a lot of cultures either go unseen, or they are out there, but there are not a lot of things to show for the culture.

Another student that discussed this topic was senior Tristan Jensen. “I usually watch movies on Netflix, and there are not many Native movies there.” He added, “ I follow a Native sports page but other than that I don’t really see or follow any other Native things.”

Jensen then said, “ITA Native sports (the page he follows) is mainly about kids going big and stuff; I think it’s interesting.”

Senior Nick Weston summed up the situation this way: “It is what it is.”  

Today’s generation is getting used to using social media and other media to communicate and see what is going on in the world today. There are many cultures seen by the media and represented on social media; however, Native American culture is rarely seen or represented.