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The stereotyping of Native Americans within commerce - Essay Example

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The stereotyping of Native Americans within commerce

338) apart from the patent medicine packages which featured the “coppery, feather-topped visage of the Indian” butter boxes depict the doe-eyed, buckskinclad Indian ``princess.’’ The American Indian, and that which popular culture has determined that he/she represent, has been exploited within the context of commerce and commercial advertising for close to a century with the purpose being the purveyance of specified messages regarding the company or the brand in question. Following an overview of the commercialisation of the American Indian image, two case studies of corporate/brand use, of the American Indian image shall be analysed.
The commercialisation of the Native American image, or figure, is both pervasive and expansive in scope, embracing all of the noble savage and the “mystical environmentalists or uneducated, alcoholic bingo-players confined to reservations’’ (Mihesuah, 1996, p. 9). All one need to conform the validity of the aforementioned assertion is visit their nearest grocery and attempt to quantify the sheer number of products, ice cream, alcohol, cigarettes, canned vegetables, baking powder, honey and butter, to name but a few, on which the image of the American Indian is emblazoned. Remarking upon the stated, Aaker and Biel (1993) maintain that the commercialisation of the American Indian image is largely predicated on the assumption that these images will evoke such romanticised conceptualisation of a world gone by that not only will consumers be attracted to the brand in question but they will associate it wit organic wholeness and strength/durability, among others, and the company in question with environmentalism and corporate social responsibility. Hence, Jeep Cherokee adopts the Washington Redskin logo as a means of communicating durability and the capacity to traverse harsh terrains unscathed, while Land O’Lakes butter and (family) food products display the image of an Indian princess as a means of ...Show more
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Summary

Popular perceptions of what it means to be Indian, or Native American, has been shaped and reinforced by a variety of strategies, some of which have relied on the written word and others on imagery. Commerce, as the stereotyping of the other through corporate logos, brand…
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