Fighting Colonialism with Hegemonic Culture

Native American Appropriation of Indian Stereotypes

By Maureen Trudelle Schwarz

Subjects: Indigenous Studies, Anthropology
Paperback : 9781438445922, 247 pages, January 2014
Hardcover : 9781438445939, 247 pages, January 2013

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1. AIM: Use of Popular Images of Indians in Identity Politics

2. Twentieth-Century Contest over Native American Spirituality

3. American Indian Express and Protests of Immorality

4. Marketing Health and Tradition

5. Marketing Spirituality and Environmental Values

6. Land, Stewardship, and Healthy Food

7. Final Thoughts


Explores how American Indian businesses and organizations are taking on images that were designed to oppress them.


How and why do American Indians appropriate images of Indianness for their own purposes? How do these representatives promote and sometimes challenge sovereignty for indigenous people locally and nationally? American Indians have recently taken on a new relationship with the hegemonic culture designed to oppress them. Rather than protesting it, they are currently earmarking images from it and using them for their own ends. This provocative book adds and interesting twist and nuance to our understanding of the five-hundred year interchange between American Indians and others. A host of examples of how American Indians use the so-called "White Man's Indian" reveal the key images and issues selected most frequently by the representatives of Native organizations or Native-owned businesses in the late twentieth century and the opening years of the twenty-first century to appropriate Indianness.

Maureen Trudelle Schwarz is Professor of Anthropology at Syracuse University. She is the author of several books, including "I Choose Life": Contemporary Medical and Religious Practices in the Navajo World.


"Fighting Colonialism with Hegemonic Culture makes an important intervention into the fields of Native American and ethnic studies by tracing the multiple ways that Native peoples have engaged with mainstream depictions of Native Americans to combat structural violence and improve material conditions … [Schwarz] thoughtfully illuminates the agency and remarkable creativity of Native Americans, demonstrating the possibilities opened by appropriating and rearticulating hegemonic stereotypes for Native peoples' own interests." — Great Plains Research

"This groundbreaking initial examination of the interrelated dimensions of the contemporary economic relationship between American Indians and the hegemonic culture also provides important historical summaries for relevant First Nations as well as the supranational experience." — CHOICE