Project COE: "Tomahawks, bows and arrows, feathered headdresses, a connection to the spiritual world — these are just a few of the stereotypical elements associated with the “Indians” of popular culture. Generally, these features, among others, are mixed together and poured into a cliche “Native American” mould that characterizes them as either an outdated civilization of savages or romanticizes them as mystical, nature-loving warriors and shamans. This mould has only strengthened over time, and has taken form in a variety of entertainment mediums, starting with literature, then film, then television, and most recently, video games.
A few notable Native American characters that have appeared in video games include Mortal Kombat‘s Nightwolf, a tribal warrior donning feathers and face paint, who wields a bow and arrows, a tomahawk, and can also transform into a wolf to defeat his adversaries, Street Fighter‘s equally stereotypical Thunder Hawk, and Banjo Tooie‘s magical shaman Humba Wumba, who lives in a “wigwam” and becomes oddly sexualized in the following game. We tend to glance over these highly stereotypical portrayals as fun and harmless, but can these simplified, misleading images of Native Americans have a negative impact on consumers?"