The Portrayal of Native Americans in Modern Media: Pocahontas

  • Toluwani Awokoya (Iowa State University)
  • Chastity Henrichs (Iowa State University)
  • Paulina Padron (Iowa State University)
  • Faleesia Willis (Iowa State University)


Different forms of media have proven to play a critical role in creating and maintaining society’s perception of ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Specifically, the Native American community has consistently been depicted using surface level and stereotyped characteristics of being uncivilized and archaic people. Even within contemporary portrayals, the misrepresentation of indigenous history can be seen in Disney’s 1995 film Pocahontas. The objective of this study was to utilize Pocahontas as a lens to critically examine the portrayal of Native American culture and history from a White American’s perspective. Our analysis will include how the misrepresentation has negative implications on the Native American identity and how, in contrast, authors that identify as Native American portray the community in a positive light.

How to Cite:

Awokoya, T. & Henrichs, C. & Padron, P. & Willis, F., (2018) “The Portrayal of Native Americans in Modern Media: Pocahontas”, Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity 19(1).



Published on
01 Mar 2018
Peer Reviewed