Looking at Stereotypes

Looking at Stereotypes

There are many lines in the Spirit Horse script that present stereotypical views of Aboriginal people. The following lines should be discussed to emphasize with students the HURT and HARM that such words can generate. For further resources to address and combat racism and stereotypes click here.

Lines from the Play:

  • I heard stealing horses is an Indian thing.
  • You don’t know where your children are? What kind of father are you, letting your kids do your dirty work. Typical Indian!
  • Dirty Indians! Always scrounging.
  • Quit trying to make me feel guilty.  Little squaw.
  • Filthy savages. I can’t believe their parents let them do this.
  • Look, I know you natives have your own special ways but … we have to keep things civilized.
  • We’re on the run. Besides, we’re Native. We’re supposed to be able to live off the land.
  • Wa…wa…wa… (He becomes an Indian brave. He does a war cry.)
  • Can you be a cowboy and an Indian? I know we’re Indians but we act like cowboys. You can be both. The rodeo lets you.


Bias: A predisposition or generalization about ‘a people’ based on personal characteristics or stereotypes.

Discrimination: Treating someone unfairly or denying them a privilege, benefit or opportunity enjoyed by others, because of their race, citizenship, family status, disability, sex or other personal characteristics.

Prejudice: Negative prejudgment or preconceived feelings or notions about another person or group of persons based on perceived characteristics.

Racism: A belief that one group is superior or inferior to others. Racism can be openly displayed in racial jokes, slurs or hate crimes and can be deeply rooted in attitudes, values and stereotypical beliefs.

Stereotype: Incorrect assumptions, misconceptions, or false generalizations about a person or a group based on things like race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, religion, etc.

Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Updated: April 16, 2015 — 12:42 am
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