White American created stereotypes of the natives of North America have been perpetuated for centuries, with misinformation and outright falsehoods spread across the Atlantic. These stereotypes stem from European racist fantasies in which white people are seen as superior and which legitimized the colonial intervention conquest of the Americas and its brutality.
Through the romanticization of the “Old West” as well as the „discovery“ and colonization of the Americas, the majority of histiography relating the indigenous of North America has been presented in favor of white Europeans. Natives, in comparison were labelled as primitives who faced inevitable decline due to the progress. However, genocide was the root cause. Physical, cultural and spiritual genocide was an aim stated by presidents, politicians, military and religious leaders throughout the history of the Americas. Any remaining natives were forbidden their culture, their beliefs, languages and traditions on pain of abuse, of imprisonment and even death.
At the beginning of the 20th century, from the 70-100 million that had once populated North America before European invasion, barely 300,000 remained. Not surprisingly, as native cultures had certainly been romanticized by many Americans after what was seen as their collective defeat, white Americans began stereotyping “native identities” for their own entertainment: as sport mascots, as costumes for parties or fun.
As natives continued to struggle for existence, white Americans created and substituted themselves as “pseudo-Indians”, even making secret societies, “educational” groups, and cultural “exchange” groups where native cultures were Europeanized for their own gratification. Directly and indirectly, this was yet another attempted erasure actual Native Americans and their identities.