I also showed the children a clip from Disney's Peter Pan, "What Makes the Red Man Red," a horribly stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans. I explained to the children that the images they have from Native Americans come from television, movies and sports logos. The vast majority of these images are stereotypical. I ended by showing the children images of actual Native Americans today. The children were surprised to see "regular" people wearing "regular" clothing just like them.
Some third graders were shocked to hear that Native Americans still live today. It was also shocking for many to hear that Native Americans today don't wear feathers in their hair, (although some wear special costumes for pow-wows and special celebrations) and don't live in tipis. As a matter of fact, historically, Native Americans did not all live in tipis and didn't all wear feathers. Each Native American tribe was (and is) unique with it's own customs and culture.
Continue this conversation at home. Talk about the images of Native Americans that you see. Ask children to consider if the images are stereotypical. You can even do a google search. Just type in Native Americans and click images. There are many rich conversations to be had!
In Room 221 we try to look at the world and our learning from multiple points of view. We aim to be respectful of all people, from all backgrounds, nationalities and skin color. Recognizing stereotypes is just one way we can work towards our goal.