From A Native Son Selected Essay In Indigenism 1985 1995

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Stereotypical and degrading images of racial minorities have been used to sell products in the United States for centuries, serving the interests of the capitalist class by selling the products themselves and reinforcing white supremacy through the use of images as an added bonus.

As these stereotypical images are often associated with products that people have come to know and love, discussing the racist implications of the images and logos themselves remains a touchy subject.

Examples of this use of prominent symbols in the continuing process of racial objectification are the issues regarding display of the Confederate flag and the “Indian maiden” mascot for Land O’Lakes brand butter.

The battle flag of the Confederate States of America and the logo of Land O’Lakes demonstrate the use of symbols to perpetuate and reinforce white supremacy in the realm of ideas through the technique of racist stereotyping and whitewashing of history, respectively.

Despite controversy, they have repeatedly refused to change it.

What message does the content of the logo itself send?

In this paper it is argued that the negative undertones of the concept obscure the complexity of the movement as a cultural phenomenon and its multiple links with Native American cultures and their present political and cultural situation.

With insight and candor, noted Ojibwe scholar Anton Treuer traces thousands of years of the complicated history of the Ojibwe people—their economy, culture, and clan system and how these have changed throughout time, perhaps most dramatically with the arrival of Europeans into Minnesota territory.

Both examples are important symbols of race that have their roots in historical events, but remain relevant to contemporary Americans.

Native scholar and activist Ward Churchill aptly describes perpetuating and implementing a white supremacist agenda through the spreading of such symbols in his book, From a Native Son: Selected Essays on Indigenism, 1985-1995.


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