TV and Movies, or "Why Bother to Learn at All?"

I'm going to bring up a little unpleasantness to make a point. During the twentieth century, it was against the law for Indians to observe their traditional religions. Where it wasn't illegal, it was considered immoral, and oppressed. We had generations of American Indians growing up without any knowledge of their traditional cultures or religions.

With the coming of the 1960's, traditional Native religions were revived, or reappeared from the underground. Many Indians did (and still do) try to find out about their Native cultures and religions. Many of our concerned non-Indian friends did (and do) also. However, there's a problem.

The books, movies, and television shows about Indians that are the most popular are the ones that are least accurate. It's almost a truism. The less a book, movie, or tv show has to do with real Indians, the more many non-Indians will like it. So, even some sincere Indians who want to return to traditional ways sometimes pick up these resources. It is so confusing to hear an Indian tout the wisdom of the latest New Age author.

There are some exceptions in terms of accuracy. This is where someone pipes up and says, "Yes, and it's my favorite (insert author/movie/tv program) that is the exception!" No, that's not the opening that I was offering. All I'm trying to say is, that when the subject of Indians comes up, critical thinking goes out the window. As a general rule, people will swallow anything about Indians, as long as it confirms their own deeply held and ill-founded beliefs.

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