About

My name is Brittany Lee Keolani Tomlinson.   I am an artist, explorer, soon-to-be college graduate, and seek out things in life that will make me laugh.  I think nature is sublime and people are fascinating.  Four years ago, I was an antsy teenager on the small island of Oahu, and fresh out of high school, I decided to hop on a plane and cross the Pacific to join the other giddy freshmen at Colorado State University.

Once I began taking classes and tailoring my schedule to better suit the requirements, I noticed I had an inclination towards taking psychology and ethnic studies classes. I couldn’t get enough information about different people, especially people from different cultures and backgrounds.  Growing up in Hawaii, I was immersed in an array of cultures and people, combining beautifully to create an island rich with love and aloha.  It doesn’t surprise me that I was drawn to things which reminded me of the people I grew up with.  I was particularly entranced with Indigenous cultures.  Through my various ethnic studies courses, I began to learn the true history that America holds with Native American populations.

I took a class titled, “Indigenous Women, Children, and Tribes” and, needless to say, it transformed my whole perspective on marginalized individuals and cultures.  During this same semester, I was also enrolled in “Queer Studies and Women of Color” that also talked about the lives of Native Americans, particularly the Native women.  I studied Queen Liliuokalani in depth for one of my past final projects and learned that, as a Native Hawaiian, she faced constant oppression and injustice from the Anglo settlers.  It was fascinating to research a woman who had changed the course of my own homeland.  The shocking information that was constantly being communicated to me made me literally hurt inside.  It was hard to hear.  What was more frustrating was the lack of knowledge our society has surrounding Native Americans.  What we think we know about Native Americans comes primarily through media imagery.  These various mediums ultimately create ingrained negative stereotypes about the Native American’s history and current populations.

Because I will be graduating with a minor in Media Studies, I started to examine the visibility that Native Americans hold in the mass media, specifically narrowing it down to media portrayals in adult cartoon shows.  I chose this genre for two reasons: 1. Native Americans represent less than 1% of U.S media portrays and 2. The portrayals that do include Native Americans are typically found on adult television shows such as Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park, and King of the Hill.

Through this blog, I would like to educate my audience on the history of Native Americans and the role that media plays in our perception of what a Native American person is “supposed” to look, act, and feel like. Think of the stereotypical, highly sexual Pocahontas image, or the stern, headdress-wearing, wise, elder chief image. Both of these stereotypes are not actual reality, but more of a cultural idea of what constitutes the image of a Native American. Adult cartoons play on these narrow preconceived images to the point where their predominately younger viewers are subjected to these stereotypes, thus more likely to believe them. Through my blog, I hope to debunk some of these stereotypes and, at the least, make my audience more aware of how the media portrays Native Americans.

I acknowledge that I am non-Native American myself, so I will try my best to overcome my concerns this might hold respectfully and positively.  I do not mean to dishonor or disrespect anybody and I understand that a Native American person may have different opinions, thoughts, and beliefs on this particular subject.  I mean to reach out to those who are interested in Native American culture and/or those interested in the scary world of media.  I wish that I provide you, my sweet audience, with enough information and examples so you can decide for yourself.

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