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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(11/21/06)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

From the Williamsport Sun-Gazette:

American Indian culture abounds

By BECKY LOCK

WATSONTOWN Woodland creatures beware! Elementary students at Watsontown Christian Academy may be getting a taste for you.

Children and their parents and grandparents enjoyed a American Indian Feast Friday at the school. The menu included squirrel, buffalo, white-tail deer, turkey, salmon, bison and elk along with corn, lima beans and sweet potatoes. Apple cider or hot sassafras tea were provided to wash it all down.

The feast is a tradition held every other year to mark the culmination of a section of the students' curriculum.

Following the dinner, teacher Andy Forsythe showed students some of the materials that American Indians used in their daily lives. He then performed a dance and invited students and adults to follow in his footsteps.

Forsythe grew up in Mifflin County and graduated in 1997 from Juniata College. For six years, he taught science to high-school students at Rosebud Sioux reservation in Mission, S.D.

Though he traces his ancestors back to Ireland, Forsythe is very much interested in the American Indians and their traditions and cultures.

Prior to the meal, students scampered around a teepee set up in the gymnasium and showed their relatives models they made of American Indian homes.

Outside, student Zachery Prochaska of Milton rode up on an overo paint horse whose bloodlines can be traced back to Yellow Mount, a stallion who was the first champion of the American Paint Horse Association.

Zachery and his mother, Donna, own the 17-year-old Oreo, who is a "Medicine Hat" mare. That title comes from the facial markings she has around her ears and under her fetlock.

"The markings are in the shape of the skullcap and horns of a buffalo that a Native American medicine man would wear," Donna said.

Zachery, who was dressed as a Sioux warrior, allowed students to pet Oreo, who is a black and white registered American Paint horse with blue eyes. She also likely had ancestors who were Indian ponies.

Rob's comment
The "feast" includes food from around Indian country, but everything else suggests Forsythe is teaching his students that Plains Indians = Indians. The evidence for this includes the teepee, the faux "chief" shown in the picture, the "Sioux warrior," and the painted pony. Equating Indians with Plains Indians is one of the most common stereotypes.

Related links
Indian wannabes and imitators
The big chief


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