A Native American Heritage Month Feature
The first thoughts in most peoples’ minds when thinking about Native Americans may involve a tall, angular, scantily clad brown man with long braids wearing a headdress, or a “Cherokee princess,” or perhaps an exhibit of pottery, arrows and shields behind glass with a diorama set in the beautiful past within the confines of a museum. We are portrayed as mystical, stoic and primitive on a can of baking powder; our Native names, often meaning “the People,” used to label helicopters and cars. These images perpetuate stereotypes of Native peoples, keeping us in the past and invisible – though we exist all around as you stand upon our homelands we continue to pray for. Many people believe that Native Americans did not survive the European invasion – or at least, we somehow do not exist as contemporary people that you pass by in the supermarket or on your way to work.