Reimagining the Myth Keepers: The Native American Female in Media Images
Love Kennedy, Lillian S.
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The Native American female has been reduced to conventional representations in false film and photographic representations based on images created from mainstream culture’s imagination. “Reimagining the Myth Keepers: The Native American Female in Media,” is a comparative investigative study of the representation of Native American and White women in film and media images. The research includes the selection of twelve Native American themed films contrasted to two classic Weimar films, Metropolis and The Blue Angel. Primary focus includes selection of certain images observed of female Indian representations in the selected films, and research into the originations of the misrepresentations, in terms of history, scholarship and film. The aim is to determine the extent to which historical events, literature, and images of the American Western and federal Indian policy contributed to the detrimental mischaracterizations of Indian women. This goal is accomplished through exposure of systematic racism and sexism, and the comparison and contrast of the Native American and mainstream cultural historical perspectives, in turn to rehabilitate past and present stereotypes of the Indigenous woman. In vii addition, research on the impact of stereotypes on Native American women’s lives in terms of identity, especially during relocations and wars is central. For example, where did they go? The accompanying exhibition, one side of the face, is a comparative visual response to the representations of White and Native American females in film and media. In this exhibition, the digital images reinterpret stereotypical representations and highlight the challenge involved in discovering and reconciling self-identity within dual cultures. Research on fourteen selected films, staged film and media representational images is juxtaposed against those that convey an Indigenous perspective or that portray a witnessed experience to illustrate a dual culture through the series titled film stills (polaroid photomontages) and digital constructions, which combine photographic self-portraits with appropriated imagery. The exhibition involves the investigation of miscegenation, matriarchy and self-identity. It also addresses female gender issues in concert with a critique of media representation in terms of self-portraiture, masquerade, fantasy roleplaying, the supernatural world, and American popular culture.