The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Indians or Indigenous Americans (#atozchallenge 2013)

Cover of "A Man Called Horse"

Cover of A Man Called Horse


 The films that I'll be listing in my April postings will not necessarily be films that I'd call my favorite films, but they will be favorites in the genres I'll be naming.   The A to Z genres are very specific micro genres as opposed to the broader genres like action, romance, or comedy.

         When I was a kid cowboys and Indians was a popular movie genre.  Then in the late 60's as the greater awareness of social issues came into play, the genre of Indian movies became more in vogue.  Of course I'm not talking Bollywood here, but using the misnomer of "Indians" as the indigenous peoples of the Americas.   

          I became very sympathetic with the cause of the peoples of the "New World" displaced by the European invaders and avidly read books and saw every movie I could about this topic.  I'm still a fan of these films though now have taken a bit more moderate position in the settlement of the Americas.  But I'll save those issues for a future controversy debate--yes, related topics are already on my controversy list.

Here are a few favorite movies that focus on Indian/Indigenous American stories:

The Searchers (1956)-- Young girl kidnapped and defiled by evil Injuns.  The Indians are still the bad guys in this great John Wayne film, but questions about mistreatment of the Indigenous Americans are also raised. The focus is on the white guys' search, but the story is rooted in the Native Americans.

A Man Called Horse (1970) -- Not long after "someone left the cake out in the rain", Richard Harris starred in one of my favorites of this genre which also spawned two sequels.  In this film an English aristocrat gets captured by Indians.  Eventually as he begins to learn more about their lifestyle he gains their respect and becomes one of them.  To me and my friends back then this guy was one of our heroes.  

Soldier Blue (1970) -- This very upsetting film which has parallels to some of the U.S. atrocities of the Viet Nam war is based on the Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians by U.S. Army cavalry soldiers in 1864.   The massacre scenes are brutal and sad and one can't help but sympathize with the Indigenous Americans.   A couple of friends and I went to see this at the Parkway Drive-in Theater in Maryville, Tennessee and we angry for days after seeing it.  We plotted among ourselves of what we could do against the government to get revenge for Sand Creek, protest Viet Nam, and show our general distaste for the United States government.  Then we'd pass around a joint and get mellow. 

Dances With Wolves (1990)-- This Academy Award winner stars Kevin Costner as another white who turns into an Indian.   It's a fine movie.  It's also quite long.

Apocalypto  (2006) --  This is my absolute favorite of the bunch.  This epic journey film directed by Mel Gibson depicts Mayan life prior to the arrival of the Europeans.   It's realistically done in the Mayan language with subtitles.  There is exciting action and an impressive recreation of a Mayan city and the culture.  I love this film!

        There are a lot of other choices in this genre--what can you add to this list?   What are your favorites?   Whose side are you on--cowboys or Indians?








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43 comments:

  1. I well remember the searchers,with a young Natalie Wood starring,

    Yvonne.

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  2. These are definitely interesting films from an interesting genre. It sort of harkens back to the times of Westerns but I still think that there is relevant aspects to these films even today buddy.

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  3. A Man Called Horse is a rough film. I remember the hanging scene.
    My favorite would be Last of the Mohicans.
    Although Graham Green's character in Maverick was the funniest!

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  4. oh... my Little, Big Man.. Dustin Hoffman.

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  5. Hi Lee - just reading Caleb's Crossing and think it might be a movie - or should be. Do you know? It is by Geraldine Brooks who also wrote People of the Brook. Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) was a major breakthrough in our understanding of Inuit culture in Canada - it is a fantastic film and is made in Inuktitut. I found it once in the Foreign Film area of a local video store and had a fit. I gestured to all the Hollywood films and said "these are foreign films- this is a Canadian film true!" Ah well.

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  6. John Wayne all the way. So corny and predictable.

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  7. Great post! We don't spend enough time on Native American history or contemporary issues. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

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  8. One that shows where the culture is now is Thunderheart. I remember the reservations in NM. Very sad.

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  9. I'm stepping out of the order I'm visiting A to Z blogs to visit you and the other organizers. It's interesting how most of us become more moderate as we age. I have some favorite books: Ishi, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,and many others. And a few posts ago, I posted a picture of my brother and I playing cowboys and Indians, and just today, I remembered young Native Americans in Idaho. Thank you again, so very much, for coming up with this wonderful idea of the A to Z. Sorry for being so long here, I better move on or I will get nowhere.....

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  10. Lee - I appreciate how your series is helping me to appreciate different sorts of movies. I feel like a fuddy duddy when I realize how staid my choices have been!

    The only movie on your list I have seen is "Dances with Wolves" which I enjoyed for the most part.

    I'm giggling because I was wondering if the poem "Hiawatha" by Longfellow was ever made into a movie. It probably WAS, I just never saw it!

    Thanks again, Lee! You always make me smile!

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    Julie Jordan Scott
    Our Literary Grannies from A to Z:I is for Isabelle Eberhardt
    tweet me - @juliejordanscot

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  11. Thanks for visits so far and the additional recommendations. I'm thinking that I have seen a Hiawatha film. Is there a Disney cartoon version?

    Lee

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  12. I grew up on the old westerns which frequently portrayed the Indian as the villain. Then came the "noble savage" view. Then, finally, the more realistic attempts to show the Indian cultures. A sad chapter in our history.

    I believe someone mentioned The Last of the Mohicans - that's one of my favorites.

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  13. If you haven't already, you need to see The New World.

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  14. Of those, I've only seen Dances with Wolves, but it's a favorite that I own and watch over and over.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  15. Not my type of films, I'm never keen if there's violence. I'm on the side of the 'Indians' every time! Same thing with Maori /Australian aboriginals, which is probably wrong as I am descended on one side from members of the Irish 'Ulster Plantation'. But then, everyone in Ireland is a blow-in, there is no real Irish race.

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  16. My favorite of your Movie Genre's, so far. I've seen all the ones on your list...many times...but one. How did I miss Apocalypto...probably because of the subtitles. Thanks for including it...I'll be renting it now.

    You are INVITED to a Quilt Show...by INVITATION only...click on CITexasGal Link.
    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

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  17. Apocolypto was a good one. Another one I liked was "Last of the Mohicans". A good movie genre though.
    Elliot
    We Are Adventure

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  18. I really love Dances with Wolves, it is a great film...long but great!

    Shannon at I Survived and Now I Run

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  19. Apocalypto is a visual feast that doesn't require one to focus too much on the subtitles as the story is very basic and doesn't involve much revelatory dialogue. Highly recommended!
    I still need to see the more recent version of Last of the Mohicans and The New World.


    Lee

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  20. I found it interesting that the language used in Dances with Wolves was Lakota. There are no native speakers of that language alive, so I wondered how they managed to find an adviser during the filming.

    Most of these films have the underlying theme of Manifest Destiny--the peopling of the West. I guess from the Indian POV that would be the "unpeopling' of it, wouldn't it?

    I enjoyed reading your post today. These are films that hold a lot of fascination.

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  21. Apocalypto was awesome. It deserved to do better.

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  22. I saw Dances With Wolves and remember it being really good. That was a Long.Time.Ago. I also really liked The Last of The Mohicans. Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing in everything he does. I am afraid I haven't seen the others on your list.

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  23. Stopping by for the A to Z. Great topics!

    ~MPL
    http://pepperwords.com

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  24. ive never watched any of these movies. I should start with Dances...
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  25. I don't know how many people would ever notice if a language like Lakota or some other little spoken language was done correctly or was even the actual language. I guess a good deal has to be conveyed by the acting and direction to make a difference.
    I guess Dances... is a good place to start with this genre of films, but I guess it depends a lot on ones interests.

    Lee

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  26. Dances with Wolves is the only one on your list that I've seen. It was a great film. I would probably be on the Indians side. I think they got the raw end of the deal when America was settled long ago.

    I like the way you "mellowed out" after the one movie. That brings back some memories I haven't thought about in awhile.

    Sunni

    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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  27. Hi Lee,

    I'm on the side of the proud and noble indigenous First Nation's people.

    I had the great honour to support them by going on a walk named "Moccasin Miles". A 100 mile walk over 3 days from Vancouver to the aptly named town of Hope, British Columbia. Incidentally, Hope was where "Rambo First Blood", was filmed.

    Happy alphabeting, Lee.

    Gary

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  28. I love cowboys. But when it comes to mistreatment and getting justice, I have to with indians.

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  29. Predictably, Dances with Wolves is the only one I have seem from this list. Nice one.

    http://thenovabug-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

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  30. I'd seen A Man Called Horse, many years ago and the scene I can't wipe from my brain is when they burrow a hook under his chest skin and swing him around a pole. Grossed me out.

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  31. I never watched Apocalyto but I might have to on your recommendation.
    I loved Last of the Mohicans even if it didn't follow the book.

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  32. There were certain wrong-doings on both sides. Many treaties were broken and that was wrong, but some of the indigenous peoples did some things that were also very wrong, not just to the Europeans, but to each other.
    And yeah, that scene in A Man Called Horse where they hang him from his chest is whacked.

    Lee

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  33. Great list! I'm not going to get into the debate part of this, because I don't have time for that. But I do like your choices. :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  34. I haven't seen any of those, not even Dances with Wolves.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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  35. My dad and I bonded over Dance of the Mohicans when I was a teenager and we needed something to bond over then.

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  36. I've been a fan of cowboy and Indian movies since I was a kid, but I don't feel I've ever been on one side or the other in general. Each movie has its own slant and I tend to go with the main character's POV. I remember Geronimo and another called Little Big Man...and so many more.

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  37. Movies of course can be very manipulative and over the years the bias has changed a bit. Maybe they've gotten more realistic for the most part, but still each filmmaker has their own message they are trying to convey.

    Lee

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  38. Of course it would be juggling movies. Great selection. God bless, Maria from Delight Directed Living

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  39. Dances With Wolves is my favorite movie on your list.

    Julie

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  40. I liked A Man Called Horse, and Dances with Wolves. I'm on the Native American side.

    I've done a bit of research, and reading Tony Hillerman made me even more sympathetic.

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  41. Love Dances with Wolves. Last of the Mohicans is another favourite.

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  42. I've never heard of Apocalypto. I need to go look that one up.



    Cynthia (The Sock Zone)
    a to z challenge
    blueflute.wordpress.com

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