Native Americans in the News: Images of Indians in the Twentieth Century Press

Native Americans in the News: Images of Indians in the Twentieth Century Press

Native Americans in the News: Images of Indians in the Twentieth Century Press

Native Americans in the News: Images of Indians in the Twentieth Century Press

Synopsis

From the Pueblo land protests of the 1920s to the sports teams' mascot controversies of the 1990s, this book chronicles the depictions of Native Americans in the press. Weston shows how some images of Indians that date from the time of Columbus have persisted into the present, and she asks whether journalistic practices have helped or hindered accurate portrayals of Native Americans. Few books of this kind have given attention to both local and national press, or have dealt so extensively with the 20th century. Weston has incorporated a wealth of well-chosen examples, presenting an accessible account of this fascinating subject.

Excerpt

This is not a book about Indians. Rather, it is about how Indians have been written about in the mainstream press. It is about perceptions--readers' perceptions fostered by newspaper and magazine articles. These stories, I submit, had and have a powerful role in shaping our views of Native Americans--and the actions we and our representatives in government take based on those views.

I do not pretend to be an "expert" on Indians. They are experts on their own cultures and lives. I have, however, learned a great deal from native people who have generously shared their insights. What I have hoped to do is to show how disparate cultures, those of Native Americans and of mainstream journalism, interacted to produce the portrayals you will read about in the pages that follow.

This work could not have been done without the help of many. I wish to acknowledge some of them here and ask the indulgence of those I omitted.

My colleagues at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University gave me encouragement and understanding. Richard Schwarzlose gave advice, offered support, answered questions without hesitation, and helped me believe it could be done. Dean Michael Janeway allowed me released time from teaching obligations to research and write. Paul Lavrakas and David Protess generously provided expert advice and support. the Gannett Urban Journalism Center provided a grant that enabled much of the research on this project to go forward.

Marion Marzolf of the University of Michigan and Carolyn Martindale of Youngstown State University reviewed and offered valuable suggestions on parts of the manuscript.

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