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Indian in the western comic book : a content analysis



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This study examined the role and characterization of the Indian depicted in the western comic book using the research method, content analysis. The sample of 44 comic books contained two Indian characters, one with a major speaking part. The guidelines of Berelson (1952) were used to develop the categories utilized and the procedures and categories applied by Agogino (1950), Katz and Braly (1933), and Spiegleman, et al. (1953) were modified to suit the purposes of this study. The pictorial and verbal data stated as the greatest percentage of attributable characteristics, were analyzed by the application of 141 items. Validation preceded the study; the percentage coder and intercoder agreement was 75% to 100%. The Indian; clad in loincloth, leggings, and moccasins, subsisting in a raiding and hunting economy was depicted as cowardly and having an evil character. He was grim expressioned, treacherous, sneaky, cruel, dependent and untrustworthy. His stature was medium as was his physique; his skin was pink, bordering on red. His hair was shoulder length, adorned with a few feathers or full headdress. Wrist and arm bands, necklaces, and war paint were worn. Bows and arrows, tomahawks, knives, and guns were evident. The Indian occupied a tipi and was transported by horse. He most often instigated acts of violence, primarily shooting and beating. In a historical time set in a domestic locality he was rarely the main character and hero but largely the submajor character and villain. Vengeance, hatred and revenge, and solution to immediate problems were the Indians' dominant goal orientation; his methods of attainment were physical violence or threats of physical violence and dependence, 'deceit, cunning and trickery. Barriers to his achievement were interpersonal violence or personal industry on the part of others. "Injun," "redskin," "squaw," "savage," and "warrior" denoted the Indian. The comic books analyzed depicted the Indian in a negative role perpetuating common stereotypes and generalizations.



Comic books, Indian, Aboriginal, Native



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


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Educational Foundations



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