The indigenous Americans was first portrayed in filmback in the 1800s, in the late 1800s, a film by Thomas Edison, although he ismore well known as the inventor of light bulb, he was actually quiteinfluential in the motion picture industry. Edison’s films depicted theassimilation of Native Americans and the integration of the lives of cowboysand the indigenous peoples in the wild west. Although the prominence of NativeAmericans in the cinematics industry did not come until the film “The SilentEnemy” produced in 1920. It was shot during the pre-Great Depression period,and it told the story of the struggles Native Americans faced combattingfamine. However, after the great depression period, Native Americans becametargets of racist depiction, the reason the victimized Native Americans wasthat post-depression America needed an enemy and a hero to defeat the enemy. Inthe 1960s, under the counter-culture movement influence, elements of hippiewere added in depiction of Native Americans. The 1990s was truly the era ofresurgence for the Native people, as the film “Dances with Wolves” accuratelyportrayed Native Americans.
Part II:Wounded Knee refers to the occupation of Wounded Knee,South Dakota by Native American rights activists under the leadership of OglalaLakota Indians and the American Indian Movement. The objective was to callattention to the United States government’s non-fulfillment and refusal ofrecognition of the treaties it made with sovereign Indian Nations. Thesituation escalated after the FBI surrounded the wounded knee site, both sidesexchanged fire and resulted in 2 deaths of Native American activists. ActorMarlon Brando invited Sacheen Littlefeather to deliver a decline of acceptanceof Oscar award, Sacheen Littlefeather used her time on stage to call attentionto the siege of the Wounded Knee and the racist portrayal of Native Americansin Hollywood. The Alcatraz refers to Native American occupation of the Alcatrazisland from 1969 to 1971, because of the denial of their rights guaranteed byUS treaties. Part III:The key problem of the film industry discussed by thedocumentary is the over generalization of Native Americans, meaning NativeAmericans were often considered to be the same “people”. Although many NativeAmerican tribes do in fact share some cultural traditions, however, each tribeis unique in its own way.
The problematic portrayal is slowly and subtlyeroding the uniqueness of each individual tribes. Bead work is another way thatart form is grouping different culture into one stereotype. The art academiaoften classifies it under Indian bead work while in reality, each tribe has itsown unique style.Part IV:This is the textbook definition of culturalappropriation.
It occurs when members from the dominant culture uses elementsfrom the minority culture while completely ignoring the underlying colonialaggression and the imbalance of power. It is not only extremely harmful to theminority culture being appropriated, but also it is a violation of thecollective intellectual property rights of the minority culture. It reduced theminority culture into exotic fashion by the dominate culture. Instead of thecontinuation of this horrific practice, the camp needs to teach the kids thehorrendous treatment Native Americans went through under colonial rule andinstead of dressing up like Native Americans, the kids need to go throughcultural diversity training.