Advanced Colonialism and Pop-Culture Treatments of Indigenous North Americans

  • J. Marshall Beier


If the preceding chapter is not easily reconciled with some readers’ expectations about the Lakota past and present, that is likely because it is quite strikingly at odds with the stock representations of Indigenous people(s) more generally that have long been a staple of Euro-American popular culture. The manner in which most members of the dominating society understand Indigenous North Americans is in the aggregate, as “Indians.” This marker is somewhat unique in the dominating society, being at once reverent and pejorative—an odd sort of conceptual schizophrenia that takes on a unitary form in the idea of the “noble savage.” Although most are well aware that cultural and linguistic variations differentiate Indigenous peoples, there is also a persistent core of beliefs about presumed basic commonalities that serves to reinforce the aggregate construct; indeed, the all too common zero-plural rendering of “the Indian” as a collective identity marker for Indigenous North Americans bears clear testament to this effect. This well-established and deeply embedded way of perceiving Indigenous North Americans in the dominating society is also accompanied by both spatial and temporal boundaries in the popular imaginary about “the Indian.” The fixing of such parameters is the inevitable extension of practices of objectification and, to the extent that it confines Indigenous North Americans to remote spatial and temporal contexts, it is central to sustained practices of advanced colonial domination.


Indigenous People International Relation Popular Culture Settler State Unequal Power Relation 
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© J. Marshall Beier 2005

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  • J. Marshall Beier

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