Re: Questions

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Posted by Myrrh on June 30, 1998 at 07:40:59:

In Reply to: Re: Questions posted by Petra on June 29, 1998 at 20:39:56:

Petra replied to Erin:
: Concerning "Dances with Wolves", I enjoyed much of it, but I have yet to meet an Indian of my generation or younger who liked it. ...My husband's comment: "Typical white man's movie - white guy finds his white woman in Indian country."
: Petra

Enjoyed reading these posts and comments about the status of women in various tribes, etc. I don't recall Eric Schweig's comment in the interview about not enough good roles for Indian women...I'll have to go back and read that! However, I do recall a comment I just read in another (very old) interview, mentioning Dances with Wolves:
" long as the producers are Euro-Americans and so is the audience, there will be emphasis on brutal viiolence like in Mohicans. Dances With Wolves was a little calmer. I want the audience to see Indians through MY eyes. ...Indian people can cry, laugh, drive around in a Mercedes, wear midnight black Armani suits and still maintain their spirituality."

I thought that was interesting. On violence in Indian cultures: I'm beginning a new book I got from Dar, about the Cherokee in the 1800s, and I'm wondering something. It depicts rape in a Cherokee raid on a white fort. Is this something that was done? I was surprised and a little shocked by it.

Also, not to disagree or negate anything in Eric's comment, but I believe Indians of the past could also be violent and maintain their spirituality, if the violence was a part of the culture to begin with, and had meaning and purpose. I know that may sound strange to some, but it makes sense to me. Comments welcome...please educate me if I'm off-base historically! Wasn't there ritual 'violence' of various kinds in many Indian cultures?? Warfare itself (occasional, purposeful) was very important to some, wasn't it? I think we have to be careful not to be interpreting "violence" through our modern-day, Euro-American lense.

About Dances With Wolves: I enjoyed it a lot. It was obviously Kevin Costner's own very personal labor of love, and I had to take it that way. It was his personal tribute, and his attempt to "correct" the skewed way the masses, the Euro-American public, thinks about and sees historical American Indians. More of Indians' HUMANITY was depicted; it was a more balanced representation, I thought, and it succeeded in getting the pendulum of interpretation to swing back toward center again. So, while it was maybe a bit aggrandized and emotionally sweeping, I thought it did a service. It touched my heart. Like some of you, I felt a little bitter that the story, as usual, centered around a white man, who inevitably becomes downright revered by the Indians...but oh well. I still enjoyed it for what it was and what it was attempting to do.


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