Today has been a rough day being Native American. In my Senior English class, we are allowed to chose a subject for our project that is an ill social problem. I chose a topic not listed; Native American Stereotypes. When I first brought it up, some of my classmates said to themselves and others how I make a point to discuss Native American problems. Then during my Navajo Government class, a student questioned why Native American elders cried during interviews of them describing their lives in boarding schools. This student tends to say things off topic. But what angered myself and a few other students is his comment about how in “traditional times Indians are warriors and they should not cry”. Lastly, how the Adam Sandler movie disrespects Apache culture and women.
Being an urban Native American student, I should be able to bring awareness to those around me of what my people face on and off the reservation. One of the reasons I took Navajo Government is to learn more about my tribes history. Once that student stated his comment, many of us were stunned. To say such a thing in a NAVAJO class is extremely disrespectful and not welcomed. My elders went through difficult times being so young while getting an education. Many tribes were stripped of their culture and had forgotten their native tongue. Even as children they were beaten if they spoke a word of their language. I understand that many movies have a certain amount of humor but when disrespecting another’s culture, that is taking it too far. As well as degrading women just to make higher ratings for a Hollywood movie.
I want others to know that I refuse to be called a typical Native American stereotype. I am proud to represent my tribe. We are strong indigenous people who will not back down.