How would you rate society’s degree of caring about Native Americans?

I was giving a presentation in a graduate-level course in media studies at Arizona State University in the 1980s when I experienced an emotion I never felt before.

The presentation was about myths and stereotypes of Native Americans, and it was for a class about film and television. For a flashing moment, I viewed myself through the most downtrodden images portrayed in print and on screen: Poor, lazy, drunk, uneducated, savage, stuck in the past with no relevance in today’s society. An uncomfortable feeling swept over me. It was a sense of powerlessness, and I had never felt it to that depth before. It made me pause.

I quickly shook it off and continued my talk, never wanting to entertain such thoughts again. But this week, after interviewing Portland State University professor Cynthia-Lou Coleman, I allowed myself to consider another crushing thought. Could it be that people don’t care about Native people and their concerns? Click here to read that blog post.

The post, which was picked up this week by the Navajo Times, raises the question of why there is scant data about Native Americans and why American Indians and Alaska Natives are left out of important studies that have the power to bring about change.

Judging by the increased traffic on my blog to that particular post, Coleman’s statement seems to have touched a nerve. So I’ve decided to conduct a poll on this subject. Readers can vote until next Friday, Feb. 7.

Also, please let me know if you are willing to be interviewed about this subject for a future blog post. The poll is unscientific, but it will be my first step into gathering some data on attitudes toward Native Americans.

Follow me on Twitter @karenmichel.

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