The Newspaper Indian: Native American Identity in the Press, 1820-90
University of Illinois Press, 1999
Paper: 978-0-252-06738-9 | Cloth: 978-0-252-02432-0
Library of Congress Classification PN4888.I52C68 1999
Dewey Decimal Classification 070.44997
ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Newspapers catalyzed public opinion in the nineteenth century, and the press's coverage and practices shaped the representation of Native Americans for white audiences. John M. Coward delves into the complex ways journalism both perpetuated and created the many stereotypes of the American Indian.
The newspaper Indian emerged not only from centuries of stereotypes but also as an Other standing in the way of economic growth and national expansion. As economic entities hungry for profits, newspapers sought colorful and exciting stories that attracted readers and confirmed the correctness of American values and goals. Journalists came to rely on easily understood formulas and clichés to explain American Indians while the changing technology of newsgathering promoted a fact-based but narrow native identity that standardized the representations of indigenous peoples. The result was a harsh, paternalistic identity that dominated American newspapers for decades—and still influence misrepresentations of Native American people in our own time.
Fascinating and thought-provoking, The Newspaper Indian shows how the press wove Native Americans into the fabric of a modernizing America.
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