Communication Studies Department

Degree Name

BA in Communication Studies




Richard Besel


The female Native American perspective is grossly neglected in mainstream media. Sadly, stereotypical images romanticize Native American women in a light that disallows them to be taken seriously in a modernized world. The fact is that the majority of women with American Indian ancestry do not live on reservations; they make up a considerable part of the general population.

There is an unfortunate “invisibility of Native women in comparison to men,” and “Native women are often represented by popular culture within the Plains Indian context, the generic Indian. Omnipresent is the ‘squaw’ who is portrayed as servant, concubine, beast of burden, drudge, ‘sinful,’ and ‘sultry’” (Tohe xviii).

The Native American female authors who contribute to this diverse collection of poetry and prose in the book Sister Nations are writing to directly challenge popularly accepted unflattering stereotypes and images of themselves and their peers. These damaging stereotypical images steal Native women’s distinct and modern identities (Tohe xviii). They strive to change the readers’ perceptions by using specific rhetoric in their native stories and poetry. As Native women attempt to voice their own true identities through the words they write and stories they tell, we can get a better understanding of what life is like for them, in their roles as the spiritual provider, family and community backbone, nurturer, caregiver, cook, and much more.