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Neither Wolf nor Dog

Stereotyping is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. This paper presented this concern taking into consideration what the book, “Neither Wolf nor Dog” written by Kent Nerburn, talked about. Through the story of an elderly Native American, the paper aimed that the public realized the need to stop the various manifestations of harmful labeling concerning American Indians. Neither Wolf nor Dog: The Stereotyping of Native (Indian) Americans Racial stereotyping is an issue of immense significance considering its implications in the society and among people.

While several issues resulted from such concern since the early years, the relevance of the condition remains in today’s contemporary setting. As such, it is therefore empirically valuable to explore the concept of typecasting in order to determine whether it serves to the advantage or detriment of concern group of people who are subjected to the practice. In doing so, the need for the public to acknowledge, that regarding people with prejudice results to nothing but harm; is ultimately realized.

The said situation is particularly depicted in the manner how the Native or Indian Americans have long struggled to be liberated from such kind of stereotyping. This group of American people was labeled in so many ways and various manifestations. Despite however of the reality that they are subjected to different stereotypes, their principles and reputation were never shattered. This is primarily because such are the only things of left them. That is, the Native Americans adhered to and uphold their respective honor despite being called many names.

Taking into consideration the said premise, it is worthy to note that the issue is powerfully presented in a literary work. The issue of clear and harmful name-calling and stereotyping of Native Americans was what Kent Nerburn (1994) effectively exemplified in “Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder. ” The said material, as presented through the accounts, thoughts and sentiments of an elderly member of Lakota (Indian tribe), efficiently manifested how the Indian American race has long been subjected to demeaning stereotyping.

What the book talked about Due to the Nerburn book, the public was presented with the reality that Native Americans, in their long clash with white Americans, are the ones always placed in the bad light. This is because despite their contributions to the American society and even evolution of white Americans, Native Americans remain to be associated with images of barbarism and drunkenness. It is therefore the principle and practice of labeling Native Americans that became the basis of the title of the Nerburn book.

In the end, the book is to be acclaimed for its effort and intention to clear the image of this particular American race. That is, Native Americans, just like the white Americans, are of valuable function to the nation and its people. Most importantly, they must be freed from damaging stereotyping and images as they are not wolf or even dog but human members of the American society. Analyzing Nerburn’s “Neither Wolf nor Dog” leads people to recognition of the reality that Native Americans were previously called humiliating names.

Unfortunately, manifestations of prejudice and stereotyping never ceased to exist in American societies. This is because even up to the contemporary life, it is a general nature among people to call or subject others to various names with damaging connotations. The said situation was what the book talked about. In particularly presenting such, the author created the theme of the novel through the story of an elderly Native American only named Dan. He was around 80 years old when the author learned his story as well as his ideas and feelings about how typecasting harmed the Indian race (Nerburn, 1994).

Notable for his previous works concerning the plight of Native Americans, Nerburn came up with the book “Neither Wolf nor Dog. ” This time, Nerburn was armed with an objective to connect the gap and remove the disparity between the white American world where he was born and the race of Native Americans which he learned to identify with and adore. In carrying out the author’s intention, the book then talked about the powerful drama and emotions that existed when Nerburn encountered Dan. This is primarily because the latter honestly and bravely allowed his thoughts and emotions to be shared with Nerburn.

In turn, the book became the venue of Dan who told of the realities concerning the Indian race’s previous and current existence (Nerburn, 1994). In particular, the book talked about Dan’s refusal to reverse and cover-up the long-time conflict between white Americans and Native Americans that included him. As a counterpart, the author presented Dan, as the story-teller, with specific belief and optimism. Such factors however were dismissed by Dan as a manifestation of him being as one of the Native American wise men (Nerburn, 1994).

In evaluating further the book, it became apparent that the said literary material presented and discussed the clever technique and approach employed by Dan. This is due to the fact that the elderly Native American succeeded when he effectively revealed his people’s ideas and sentiments toward how they are unfairly stereotyped. Unwittingly, the book served as a means where the cheaters in Sufism and Zen tried hard to take people outside the traditional philosophy and determination (Nerburn, 1994).

Additionally, an overview of the book talked about the lessons that people, white Americans in particular, got from the harsh realities about themselves as well as their wrong notion, treatment and labeling of the Native Americans. The author tried his best effort not to discuss sensitive issues concerning the relationship between white Americans and Native Americans. This was done when Nerburn respected how diversified the Native American culture and experiences are. Likewise, the book talked about its respect to the dissimilarities that exist between Native and White Americans.

But it was Dan’s life story that completed the book’s presentation of the harmful rift that occurs between the two groups. It was apparent from the book that Nerburn avoided stereotyping Native Americans with corny and inappropriate labels and images. These included the attempts of the author to stay away from presenting Dan’s groups as drunken Native Americans, as brutal tribe as well as even as very righteous people and quiet earth lovers. In doing such, the book manifested the author’s recognition of the harms inflicted by white Americans against Native Americans.

This is after the book tried hard to carefully talk about how Native Americans were exploited by white Americans. Specifically based from the story of Dan, the book discussed that the harmful stereotyping of Native Americans was done by abusing their ceremonies and traditions. It was very clear from the book however that as white Americans maliciously labeled the Native Americans, the former just exemplified spiritual arrogance and cultural disrespect toward American people such as Dan.

Hence, it was Dan and his story that eventually created a clear picture of the condition of Native Americans and the attitude of white Americans. This is after the book talked about Dan’s explanation to the author of the reason why both white and Native Americans have long time failed to meet eye to eye and understand each other (Nerburn, 1994). Through Dan’s clarification, the book talked about how his people definitely differ from the group of Nerburn. This is because of the reality that the most significant thing for white Americans is nothing but freedom.

In contrast, for Dan and the rest of the American Indians, their honor is their most valued and prized possession. The most fitting presentation of the significance and concepts of the book was when it Talked about how Dan summed up what lesson that the white Americans can learn from them. Hence, Nerburn wrote that the Lakota elder stated: Live close to the earth. Get rid of some of your things. Help each other. Talk to the Creator. Be quiet more. Listen to the earth instead of building things on it all the time. Don’t blame other people for your troubles and don’t try to make people into something they’re not.

(p. 185) This moving statement made by Dan, as clearly represented in the book, powerfully condensed the harms and pains caused by the stereotyping of Native Americans as well as their advice and challenge to white Americans to improve their ways. Through such sincere efforts, the book’s purpose to correct the damaging image hurled against Native Americans was essentially achieved. Conclusion Nerburn’s “Neither Wolf nor Dog” was definitely packed with insightful details and observations pertaining to the relationship between white and Native Americans.

The literary classic contributed to the efforts to recognize the roles of American Indians to the development of the nation and people. Beyond this, it is commendable to note that the book effectively talked about the reality of the stereotyping of Native Americans. This is because in doing so, the public realized the need to refrain from and ultimately correct such harmful practice. Reference Nerburn, K. (1994). Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder. California: New World Library.

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