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Dissertation Information for Pamela Barron

NAME:
- Pamela Barron
- (Alias) Pamela Petrick. Barron

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Florida State University (USA) (1981)

ADVISORS:
- Phyllis J. Van Orden

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Mary Alice Hunt
- John Simmons
- Ronald D. Blazek

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: THE CHARACTERIZATION OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN CHILDREN'S AND YOUNG ADULT'S FICTION, WITH A CONTEMPORARY SETTING BY NATIVE AMERICAN AND NON - NATIVE AMERICAN AUTHORS: A CONTENT ANALYSIS

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the characterization of Native Americans in selected children's and young adult's fiction books with a post-1945 setting. It sought to determine whether or not stereotypes of Native Americans appeared in this literature and whether or not there were differences in the portrayals of Native American characters by Native American and Non-Native American authors. Twenty-seven selection sources were used to identify the 114 books included in this study.

Supportive data for this study were obtained by using the technique of content analysis. The analytic instrument used in this study was developed by the researcher. It is a modification of the two instruments used by Gast in his study and a synthesis of criteria used in studies done by Shaw, Dusold, Feingold, the Council on Interracial Books for Children, the participants in the library Services Institute on Library Materials for American Indians, and the Stanford, California, Task Force for the Evaluation of Instructional Materials. In order to study the characterization of Native Americans, ten general categories were developed: story setting, attitudes of author in relation to Native Americans, use of dialect, author's portrayal of the relationship between Native Americans and whites, author's portrayal of the values and ethics of Native Americans, author's portrayal of contributions of Native Americans, author's portrayal of contemporary Native American life, characterization of the Native American character, stereotype with regard to characterization, and stereotype with regard to storyline.

The investigation revealed that by combining the elements of characterization that appeared most often in the books analyzed a composite Native American character could be created who can be described as: a main character who is a male, Navajo, teenager living in the West on a reservation in a hogan with both parents and attending school. His physical characteristics are described in terms of hair and eye color, he does not speak in dialect, and his goal in life is self-realization. There is a positive family relationship and their economic status is adequate. The relationship with whites is that of mutual tolerance and a strong sense of family and kin relationship is expressed as a value. His contribution to society is arts and crafts. Problems of health, education, and job opportunities are concerns of his contemporary life style.

Most of the books analyzed contained more than one type of stereotype with regard to characterization of Native American characters and more stereotypes with regard to storyline were found than in any other category. Books written by Non-Native American authors were found to contain more stereotypes than those written by Native American authors.

The researcher concluded that many of the more obvious stereotypes of Native Americans such as "Noble Red Man", "Drunken Old Indian", etc. have given way to a more subtle stereotype. Descriptions of Native Americans in the books analyzed often include a reference to an element of nature. There was also a noticeable lack of humor in the books analyzed. Because of the misconceptions about Native Americans being perpetuated in this literature, writers of children's fictional literature should be more insightful with regard to the dynamics of Native American culture. There is also a need for more children's books to be authored by Native Americans.

MPACT Scores for Pamela Barron

A = 0
C = 5
A+C = 5
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:05:23

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Students under Pamela Barron

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- Janet Lynch Forde - Florida State University (1996)
- Jo Ann Lahmon - Florida State University (1996)
- Abdulrazzaq H. Ali - Florida State University (1997)
- Fahad Alsehli - Florida State University (1999)
- Margie Jean Klink Thomas - Florida State University (2000)