The Same Old Story: Cultivation of the Warrior Stereotype of American Indians

Laurel R. Davis-Delano, Renee V. Galliher, Joseph P. Gone


Although representations of American Indians in mass media are rare, when depicted they are portrayed in a consistent stereotypical manner, especially as bloodthirsty warriors and noble Indians from the past. We used a cultivation approach, surveying 903 White Americans, to explore whether greater reported exposure to 6 media types and genres was associated with the endorsement of 5 stereotypes. We found that more reported exposure to television, books, social media, news, and sports media was associated with greater endorsement of the warrior Indian stereotype. More exposure to social media was associated with more endorsement of the noble Indian stereotype and less endorsement of the casino and degraded Indian stereotypes, and more exposure to sports media was associated with less endorsement of the degraded Indian stereotype. We discuss our findings in relation to cultivation theory, settler colonial theory, and the phenomenon of ostensibly positive stereotypes, as well as their implications for American Indian Peoples.


Native Americans, American Indians, stereotypes, mass media, cultivation theory

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