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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

The San Francisco Chronicle printed these cartoons just before Aug. 26, when someone sent them to me. The crying Indian was an illustration for the newspaper's letters page. The dice teepee may have appeared on the same or a different page.

The (stereotypical) point of both of these is obvious. The tipi suggests Indians think about nothing except enriching themselves through gaming. In reality, most tribes are using gaming revenue to alleviate their social problems and preserve their cultures, not to buy yachts and mansions.

This cartoon is also problematical because:

The crying Indian is probably a takeoff on the (in)famous Iron Eyes Cody ad showing him crying over the destruction of nature. In this case, the cartoonist apparently is showing an Indian crying because he thinks gaming has obliterated his history and culture. In reality, again, gaming revenue is helping most tribes renew and reinforce their traditional cultures.

A few small California tribes may be focused primarily on getting rich, but these tribes probably lost their traditional cultures first. If there's a single case of a tribe that has abandoned its traditional culture after initiating gaming, I haven't heard of it.


P.S. Let's note that the Chronicle may have commissioned the illustrations to reflect the message of the letters or editorials that accompanied them. The illustrations may not reflect the position of either the Chronicle or the cartoonists who drew them.

Related links
Rich Indians
Greedy Indians
The facts about Indian gaming

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