ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When a group of American Indian actors walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie here this week, their decision generated praise and scorn on social media.
But according to The Associated Press, there was wide agreement on at least one thing: Despite changes, many faulty stereotypes of American Indians remain in Hollywood and the media. And more Native Americans are voicing their opinions, armed with social media giving them more of a voice.
This week, eight actors quit the production of the satirical Western "The Ridiculous Six" over complaints about offensive names and religious scenes. The actors said they couldn't participate in a movie depicting an American Indian woman urinating while smoking a peace pipe.
California writer Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, founder of Natives in America, an online publication for Native American youth, said the walkout generated praise from American Indian advocates because people were tired of the images and now have outlets to express their outrage.
"In the past, Native actors did speak out but they didn't have the technology to share their views widely," Red Shirt-Shaw said. "It's different now."
On social media, activists used the hashtag #NotYourHollywoodIndian to denounce Sandler's project and to thank the actors for their "bravery."
Meanwhile, other Native Americans say more actors and writers are needed in media to battle hurtful images. They argued the actors should have stayed on set.
The Sandler film is set for a Netflix-only release, and the streaming service says it was designed to lampoon stereotypes popularized in Western movies.
A spokesman for Sandler's Manchester, New Hampshire,-based production company, Happy Madison Productions, didn't immediately return a phone message.
In recent years, Native Americans have been more outspoken.
For example, in 2013 some Native Americans were critical of Johnny Depp's portrayal of Tonto in the Disney version adaptation of "The Lone Ranger." Depp's Tonto spoke in broken English, chanted prayers and wore a stuffed crow on his head. However, after a campaign by the movie to improve its image with Native Americans, Depp was eventually embraced on the Navajo Nation and was later adopted into the Comanche Nation.
A year before, the band No Doubt was forced to apologize and pull the music video "Looking Hot" after lead singer Gwen Stefani was criticize for dancing around teepees and wearing a series of American Indian-styled outfits.
Elise Marubbio, an American Indian Studies professor at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, said those stereotypes are part of the nation's mythical West narrative and usually center on images of the Lakota.
The Lakota are considered by many to be the last tribe defeated by U.S. government forces.
Marubbio said that often tribes of the Great Plains, such as the Comanche, are portrayed living in Monument Valley - the legendary site of many John Wayne-John Ford movies is located on the Arizona-Colorado border, largely on the Navajo reservation.
That portrayal hasn't changed that much since the 1930s and seems to give some a justification to disrespectfully use American Indian clothing and practices, she said.
The 1990 epic "Dances with Wolves," won wide acclaim for its portrayal of Lakota and was filmed largely near Fort Pierre and elsewhere in South Dakota, with several Indian actors in key roles.
But it also was criticized by some American Indians, including some Lakota, and some white critics for what were called inaccuracies and its theme of portraying a white man as the "savior" of the Indian people.
Goldie Tom, a female actor who walked off the Sandler production, said she knew the movie wasn't going to be historically accurate, but she thought it would be tasteful.
"I don't regret my decision to be in the movie," Tom said. "But after this experience, I'm reminded that we still have work to do."