Native Americans in Hollywood

Dances with Wolves is a movie staring Kevin Costner as Lt. John
Dunbar. John wants to see the frontier before it is gone from the war so
he goes to a fort there. When he gets to the fort he finds it abandoned
and soon finds that there is a Sioux tribe as his neighbors. John becomes
friends with the Sioux and learns their language. He lives with them and
learns their culture. John falls in love with a woman named Stands with a
Fist (Mary McDonnell) that was captured by the Sioux when she was little.

They get married but then the white people come to kill the Native
Americans. John attempts to talk to them but fails because they think he
was a traitor. He ends up giving the Sioux guns and they kill the white
men and go to the winter fort. Unfortunately, twelve years later all of
the Sioux were killed.

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There are many Native Americans in this movie. There is an old wise
one and then many other leader figures. The old one likes John and says
that he is the only white man he has known. John becomes a friend with one
quiet one that was the “father” of Stands with a Fist. He gives advice to
John and tells him what to do. He is one of the head people in the Sioux
and he makes decisions about hunting and war.John also becomes close
with a teenage Sioux named Smiles A Lot. They talk and trade Native
American things with White people things.

In the beginning of the movie Native Americans are talked about as
thieves and beggars. The white men state that they have to kill the
“Indians” because they are thieves and beggars. The Native’s said they
wanted to be recognized for their trail so they were going to kill the
lieutenant. They are wearing animal skin and feathers, with a lot of face
paint on and they speak a different language. One Native says the white
men are a “poor race” and they won’t survive one winter. The Indians go to
John’s house and looks through his things (thieves).

After awhile the old wise Sioux tells the others to go see John and
try to talk with him. They start to teach each other their language. At
first one of the men want to kill John but the other one tells him to clam
down. He makes them coffee and lets them have sugar. They learn each
other’s word for buffalo since the buffalo are very important to the Native
Americans as the winter is coming soon. John starts to have the white
woman to translate for him too so they can now communicate very well. The
Natives are shown as excepting people.

At this point John is quite welcome among the Native Americans. He
knows their language and spends a lot of time with them. The Sioux accept
him; they even let him go on hunting trips. The Sioux are now seen as nice
friendly people, which is a totally different message they were putting
through at first. They have wars against other tribes to protect the wives
and children of the tribe. By the end of the movie the Native Americans
are seen as nice men that have to defend their land from the white men.


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