Presentation on theme: "The way Native Americans are depicted in these films is far from just and clearly fueled by the social context of the time, an era of social distrust of."— Presentation transcript:
The way Native Americans are depicted in these films is far from just and clearly fueled by the social context of the time, an era of social distrust of anything non-American, and consequent celebration of the American identity through nostalgic film reconstructions of Manifest Destiny. Although its effects weren’t truly felt until the late 1940s, the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934 (flawed though it may have been) worked to endow tribes with a greater measure of self determination through tribally mandated economic, social, property and resource management programs. Near the same time, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was extended to protect the rights of Native Americans, and in 1969, Red Power, a militant political group seized Alcatraz Island in a show of anti-racist sentiment. The early 1970s bore witness to three events that finally tipped the scales: Nixon expanded on Johnson’s work to improve U.S.-Native American relations, highlighted by the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, in which an unprecedented 40 million acres of land was legally titled to indigenous Alaskans; in 1972, the Trail of Broken Treaties (protesting the 300 plus treaties made and broken by the U.S. government) resulted in the peaceful occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) building in Washington; the events of the 1973 AIM Wounded Knee incident were far less passive, ending in a seventy-plus day stand-off between U.S. armed forces and protestors on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5g7ZD-8oFM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fdaG7ULqAo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xeu54oBatf0
The classic western movie with frontiersmen and pioneers struggling against the difficulties of the elements of nature, lawlessness, and the Indians was developed in the silent era. It was in turn derived from the popular Wild West literature of the nineteenth century. This form was particularly emphasized in the serials, along with melodramas and slapstick comedies (Barbour 1970). The serials used a technique of steadily building suspense to climaxes through speed, action, and "crosscutting" from one scene of action to the next. It was in these that a band of horse-riding Indians was used to attack the settlers in order to introduce the elements of threat and action to the routine story. Extensive dialogue was unnecessary because the threat and the action were easy to portray through the pictures, so the story captions remained extremely simple. These were easy to make because they involved little writing or dramatic entanglement. Movements could somewhat replace acting, the story pattern was easy, stock footage from past films could be incorporated, and sets were inexpensive.
When sound came in, Indians were rarely given speaking lines, even in some mock-Indian language, such as Tonto's use of kim-o-sabe with the Lone Ranger The stereotype had developed that Indians always fought as a tribe and that individually they were disinterested in white concerns or just too dumb to be believable villains. So the western villain was usually a crooked white gambler, major, banker, or rancher and his gang.