A recent survey found 40 percent of respondents didn't think Native Americans still exist.

The Reclaiming Native Truth project aimed to figure out what the "dominant narrative" is around Native people. So, what are people saying about Native Americans, how are they represented in culture and media and, crucially, how does that translate into public policy and opinion?

“The complete lack of representation in the media, in pop culture, in K-12 education not only erases us from the American consciousness, it inadvertently creates a bias,” consultant Echo Hawk told Women's Media Center. “People were less likely to support certain rights and social justice issues for Native people when they had zero perception and understanding of who we are. Invisibility and erasure is the modern form of racism against Native people.”

Some findings from the survey:

•59 percent agreed the United States committed genocide against Native Americans.

•36 percent of people thought Native Americans experience significant discrimination.

•Bias against Native Americans depends on region, with the greatest bias shown among those who live nearest Indian reservations.

•People held dual ideas about Natives, for example that they live in abject poverty but also are "flush with casino money" or care about the environment but live on trashed reservations.

•Teachers and parents in focus groups found school curriculum covering Native Americans is inaccurate and that Natives are under-represented (none of the focus groups were in Montana, which has Indian Education for All programs).

•Research shows mascots such as the Washington Redskins are detrimental to Native students and reinforce bias against Indians, with 4/5 Native Americans finding them offensive. Half the country in general believes the mascots honor Natives and opposes a ban. Younger respondents, especially Millennial women, are more likely to support a ban.

•71 percent of those surveyed favored expanding national monuments to protect sacred lands.

•63 percent of people surveyed support “doing more for Native Americans,” while 5 percent argued for doing less.

•36 percent of those surveyed believe they have some Native American ancestry.

•Among the positive stereotypes of Native Americans: "committed to preserving their culture," "committed to family and community," "spiritual/mystical,""resilient in the face of discrimination, oppression and genocide," "close to the land or stewards of the environment" and patriotic Americans/serving in military.

•Protests at Standing Rock lifted the profile of Native Americans, reminding Americans and people around the world that they still exist, united tribes, leveraging non-traditional media and bringing issues of tribal sovereignty to the public.

•Most people, from elected officials to the media to the general public, didn't understand tribal sovereignty. Most lumped all Native Americans into one group instead of recognizing tribal differences.

•College-educated people, people of color, people who are or know Native Americans, people in the Northeast, liberals and young women are more likely to support Native Americans. White people in Indian Country, seniors, conservatives and older men without a college degree were considered the toughest to convince to be allies.

Responses to "Survey: American People think Native Americans don't exist"

  1. Unknown says:

    I have always been upset that schools do not teach the true history of our country. The whites broke every treaty ever made with the native people. Shame on us. We are still destroying their land and culture.

  2. Unknown says:

    as long as we call them, "Whites" we empower them. They should be called what they are and that's " European Americans"

  3. Anonymous says:

    every history book tells us about the natives being here first, they tell us about the whites coming and doing the unfair treatment, but whites (as your calling them)don't want anyone to acknowledge that, they are also ignoring the civil war, they can't face that once they treated other people horrible.So its not taught in schools. they are ignored.

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a college educated European American senior woman who grew up in the South, I was lucky enough to get to live for 30 years near 2 major Native American sovereign nations in Northern Arizona. I lived and worked with wonderful Native Americans who were my co-workers and best friends. I saw and heard racial profiling and discrimation against them . So unfair. When I lived in the South, I saw the same tactics used against African Americans and it makes me sick to see any fellow Americans treated this way . Get a life people and learn to treat fellow men and women the way you want to be treated. With respect and dignity.

  5. Unknown says:

    People are so stupid

  6. I grew up in the sixties and experienced native racists up close and personal but i survived and learned to become a teacher of the native life in a urban setting and constantly remind the "whites" i encounter daily of our existence and our beauty and appreciation of the ever changing world around us.. and how we have endeavored to perserve our culture and history..

  7. People are so ignorant! Wake up. Live in Reality!

  8. Unknown says:

    Great Article To bad I can't post it , so many people need to know how badly they were treated.

  9. Many years ago, I was in New Mexico (mid 70's). I was shocked to hear the term "Red Nig---" being used. My Cherokee Grandmother had told me about this term being used in North Mississippi, she heard this from her Grandfather. This past year I was there for about 10 days and happy to say, I never heard it once. The first time I heard it at least once or twice a day. Hopefully that is a sign.

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