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In popular US film: Why are the Lakota (Sioux) "good", and the Crow, Pawnee "bad"?

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posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 03:56 PM
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From "Dances with Wolves", to "Into the West", it seems that the
"Sioux" have become emblemic Western Indians.
Yet the Crow and Pawnee are portrayed as sell-outs and traitors.
In the contemporary spirit of rebellion against power the "Sioux" have been much celebrated - but it is almost as if they require 'lesser' tribes as an ontological comparison.
What do others think on this much repeated standard sterotype?




posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 04:19 PM
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A couple of thoughts. One, the Sioux were a pretty diverse people geographically, linguistically, culturally. We need to guard against making any monolithic ascriptions to the myriad of people that we put under that label.

Second, I'm willing to bet that most portrayals of Sioux and Pawnee have not been by representatives of either of those people, but by others. So, the real question might be why do non-Lakota and non-Pawnee constantly portray the Pawnee as "sell outs" and the Lakota as "good" or "brave" or whatever popular descriptor is used.



posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by Toromos
 

Yes, well said, which begs the question.
As a complete outsider from the US, but yet exposed to its media, I would say it has something to do with AIM and wider counter-cultural resitance.
There is little doubt that modern media is slanted. So in "Into the West" one finds seductively heroic Lakota, but alos murderous Crows. To an extent, it makes the West out as a site of civil war between native tribes, rather than Western conquest.



posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 04:39 PM
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For lack of a better comparison....

One is more like honey bees

The other much like Hornets!

Both very fierce , but one is more likely to be terittorial/aggressive.

Just hope my native friends don't take offence!



posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 04:48 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


Although I have no data to reference stated cultures, may I ask a question that I don't understand?

Why is the white man good, and the red man a savage? Considering what has transpired on this rock.


[edit on 12-11-2009 by PaulKCA]



posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 



It's most likely that the screen writer, or the person that came up with the plot for the movie... bumped elbows with a person having Lakota blood & heritage.

Most all the friends & aquaintances with native blood were either Lakota or Blackfoot, ... a couple people said they had some Cheerokee.


I don;t think many Apache or Hopi would aspire to bump elbows with Hollywood types... so that reason alone would make possible the meet-ups or passing associations between Anglos' & Lakotas'.


I'm pretty sure no in-depth studies, of the cursery 'research' tried to be 'exactly' historically factual ... unless it was a specific historical account film/documentary... so the general theme of Lakota as friendly, & cordial deep-thinkers, who displayed character & civilized status has evolved as the Whites' method of sanitizing their past actions with Native populations.

a good 'try' but no cigar as i'm concerned



posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 11:41 PM
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Originally posted by PaulKCA
reply to post by halfoldman
 


Although I have no data to reference stated cultures, may I ask a question that I don't understand?

Why is the white man good, and the red man a savage? Considering what has transpired on this rock.


[edit on 12-11-2009 by PaulKCA]

In older Wetserns that is true - whites were good and Indians bad. However, Into the West and especially Dances with Wolves is not that simplistic. Many of the white characters are evil. Even some Indians (I'm using that term for sake of brevity) of the Lakota are morally complex - however all Crow are evil! It's almost like they cartoonishly mediate older stereotypes. I checked all I could google on the Crow, and I'm still not sure if they ever had conflict with the whites. Some sites say so, but then change the subject. It appears some tribes regard them as sell-outs, who scouted for Custer. They in turn regard this as historical hypocrisy - many of these tribes scouted against the Nez Pierce. The portrayal in film is very problematic.



posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 11:51 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 

In "Dances with Wolves" the Pawnee come across as the "punks" of the West, and yet it appears as if that hairstyle was not limited to one particular nation. We never see Crow or Pawnee villages or domestic scenes for example, that would humanize them.



posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 11:51 PM
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Even saying that the term evil applies to the crow is overly simplistic.

For the most part is didn't come down to evil but to enemies.

Enemies usually see each other as evil.

In most movies and stories the concept of good versus evil is simply a by product of showing the target audience something that will evoke the desired emotional responses.



posted on Nov, 13 2009 @ 01:05 AM
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I'm part Shumash, so I think I can answer the question of why, even today, indians are portrayed as "bad" and white's are "good."

This is just my opinion, but I believe americans are being conditioned to forget that they MURDERED the indians and STOLE the land that is the US today. Can't seem all goodie two shoes with indians reminding everyone, but now indians are just casino lovers right? Who cares if the "evil savages" got their land stolen right? Seems simple enough.



posted on Nov, 13 2009 @ 01:10 AM
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reply to post by Toromos
 


Hi Totomos,

Is that Edward Abbey in your avatar? Sorry to be off topic.

Peace!



posted on Nov, 13 2009 @ 02:47 AM
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reply to post by badgerprints
 

Of course "evil" applies here to film (mis)representation, and not to people in reality.
Since the 1990s there has been a change in Western films and series to show more "accurate' and sympathetic portrayals of Native Americans: that is, SOME Native Americans (paticularly the Lakota and Apaches).
In the 1950s the "wagon burning" Indian was very much one element of the untamed, threatening landscape, which had to be subdued and conquered. The dismal treatment of the Lakota is now very much a major theme. (Most lately in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", and even going into modern problems, such as "Thunderheart"). It is very much the white establishment that is "evil" in these films (and the Indians who side with them). In "Dances with Wolves" the Pawnee sadistically kill an old man and his donkey. They also murder a family of settlers without justification, and end up tracking the "angelic" Lakota with the cavelry in the closing scenes. In "Into the West" a Lakota village is shown as having been massacred by the Crow, and a main female character has her husband murdered by them. Despite this, some history books claim the Lakota were themselves invading the plains from Eastern forests, and conquering the local tribes. The Indian/white conflict does seem over-simplified, since "pan-Indianism" between various nations only develpoed in the 20th century. Just like Cortez and Pizarro did in Latin America, it seems that whites exploited whatever conflict existed in a divide and rule strategy.
Although these stereotypes are just plot conventions, I wonder how modern Crow and Pawnee feel about this. Will we ever see a film that shows the Crow side of the coin?
Or maybe these issues can be ignored since the films at least give a general exposure to the victimization of Native Americans?



posted on Nov, 13 2009 @ 03:01 AM
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reply to post by Genus
 

True. And this leads me to re-phrase the thought: Does Hollywood still practise divide-and-rule and tribalism in film?
Does the politically correct portrayal hide an underlying continual from of mental conquest?
Arguably the larger truth of colonialism is undermined by the presence of one-dimensional "bad" Indian charaters.



posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 01:33 AM
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Originally posted by halfoldman
reply to post by Genus
 

True. And this leads me to re-phrase the thought: Does Hollywood still practise divide-and-rule and tribalism in film?
Does the politically correct portrayal hide an underlying continual from of mental conquest?
Arguably the larger truth of colonialism is undermined by the presence of one-dimensional "bad" Indian charaters.


Strange, came across a site of "traditional" (I suppose 19th century) native tribes, their alliences and enemies: "Native Americans of the Mountains" www.davemcgary.com... . I could have sworn these were plains tribes, and it seems to favor romance over fact. Interestingly the Dakota speakers are here represented as having no enemies, and yet many other tribes have them as enemies!
This repeats the curious film situation, which makes me wonder how much history is imposed from white outsiders, and how poorly it is understood.
Strangely the last major "Lakota" peoples who were the final native military threat to the US receive some kind of patronizing honor in popular information. Or do they?



posted on Nov, 28 2018 @ 11:35 PM
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a reply to: halfoldman

PART 1
Given that this post is so old, likely no one will ever see my comment. However, some background to help with your question (--a bit lengthy, I'm afraid--but hopefully informative).

First, linguistically: Siouan language speakers included the Dakȟóta (Yankton, Yanktonai, Sisseton and Santee), the Lakȟóta (Oglala, Two Kettles, Sans Arc, Miniconjou, Blackfeet, Brulé, and Hunkpapa), and the Nakȟóta (Assiniboine, Stoney) peoples; oddly, the Crow (Apsáalooke), the Hidatsa, and the Mandan are also in the same Siouan language family (though not mutually intelligible). The Dakȟóta, Lakȟóta, and Nakȟóta peoples had migrated eastward and northward, many of the Nakȟóta finally ending up in Canada. The Crow, Mandan, and Hidatsa, however, remained in the Midwest. The Omaha-Ponca and Osage (also Siouan speakers) were further southeast. The Dakȟóta settled primarily in Minnesota and north of it, but as the Algonquian-speaking Ojibwe and Cree peoples in Canada north of them gained firearms, pressure from them forced the Dakȟóta to condense further south into Minnesota--and 7 lodges left the area completely, moving west back out onto the great plains. A dialect shift in this migrated language changed the Dakȟóta "d" (among other things) to "L"--and the people's name changed to Lakȟóta (i.e., the Teton Sioux). These peoples pushed the already resident (Algonquian-speaking) Tsitsistas (Cheyenne) and Hinono'eino (Arapaho) out of the way (though the three eventually became Allies). They also pushed the (Siouan-speaking) Crow (who were enemies of all three) westward along with the Newe (Shoshone--of Sacajawea fame).

Further south (mostly in Nebraska) were the Caddoan language-speaking Pâriktaru (Pawnee). The Pâriktaru spent the growing season in fixed villages, while they roamed the plains (using tipis) during the hunting season. The Pâriktaru were fond of tattooing, which often gave them a sinister appearance. They were more or less ‘friendly’ with Whites they encountered. They were originally an extremely powerful people with an estimated population of some 10,000 or more--until European diseases cut their numbers down to a mere 1400 or so survivors. All of these peoples raided each other. The Lakȟóta put pressure on the Pâriktaru (Pawnee) to their south, and the Apsáalooke and the Newe to the west, the latter of whom were Uto-Aztecan language speakers (as were the Newe's southwestern cousins, the Nʉmʉnʉʉ --Comanche). So was the overall northern great plains situation.

And then came the Whites. In Minnesota (statehood in 1858), the Dakȟóta were settled on an early form of treaty reservations; after numerous difficulties with the government and supplies (e.g., treaty violations [what's new there?], graft involving annuity payments, etc.), they revolted in the Dakota War of 1862 (a few did not). The US military, though distracted by the Civil War, stepped in and with the help of Minnesota volunteers defeated the Dakȟóta. President Lincoln estimated (in his second annual address) White losses at up to 800 killed--and Minnesota was out for blood. The United States subsequently tried and sentenced 303 Dakȟóta male captives to death by hanging, though President Lincoln studied each case (he was a lawyer, after all) and commuted the sentences of 264 of them. Thirty-eight were hanged on the day after Christmas 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota--the largest publicly held mass execution in U.S. history (that we never hear about). All treaties with the Dakȟóta people were thereafter nullified/voided and they were forced to pack up and move west to join their Lakȟóta cousins--where they remain today.
Meanwhile, back west, an Apsáalooke (Crow) chief had a vision dream that his people should seek friendly relations with the Whites if they wished to survive—and this they did, even providing scouts for the U.S. Army. The 1865 massacre of a group of peaceful Tsitsistas (Cheyenne) at Sand Creek (under Black Kettle, who was flying a US flag from his tipi) essentially destroyed the credibility of the peace faction among the Tsitsistas (and offered a graphic negative example of what might be expected from dealing peacefully with the Whites--and that negativity only increased over the years). The attack was conducted by Colorado volunteers under U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington (a freemason and Methodist minister), who attacked the village of primarily old men, women, and children; the aftermath included mutilation of the bodies (including private parts of men, women, and children) by the soldiers, some put on display in the nearest town. The Treaty of Laramie (1868) created the “Great Sioux Reservation,” though this was steadily chipped away at over the next few years (this was nothing new; the United States abrogated nearly every treaty it made with 1st Nations peoples whenever it was considered necessary to do so) ending with the loss of the Siha Sapa (Black Hills, a religious site to the Sioux) after Custer claimed he had discovered gold there. Similar issues to those that caused the Dakȟóta War of 1862 were now affecting the Lakȟóta, the Tsitsistas (Cheyenne), and the Hinono'eino (Arapaho), who were all growing increasingly dissatisfied with all the limits placed on them, and their decreasing reservations. In the meantime, by the late 1860s, the Lakȟóta and the Pâriktaru (Pawnee) peoples had each complained numerous times to the US government about harassment by the other; in 1871, the United States tried unsuccessfully to broker a peace between them; in fact, a peace pipe was indeed finally smoked by the Lakȟóta and the Pâriktaru—but it took until 1925 to accomplish this.
In August of 1873, the Lakȟóta (about 700 Brulé and a large number of Oglala) were hunting in Nebraska (Article 11 of the 1868 Laramie treaty allowed them to hunt as far south as the Republican River in Nebraska, some 200 miles from the Sioux reservation, and an area originally part of Pâriktaru territory) where some Oglala scouts encountered a Pâriktaru hunting group of up to 400 men women and children and reported this to their camps. The Lakȟóta put together an approximately 1000-man war party and on 5 August 1873 attacked the Pâriktaru (Pawnee) camp (Massacre Canyon battle), killing (accounts vary) up to 156 men, women, and children according to US trail agent John Williamson, who was traveling along with the Pawnee. Only the arrival of a nearby US cavalry unit (attracted by the gunfire) drove off the Lakȟóta. The Lakȟóta’s name for the Pâriktaru is “Sčili” (S-chee-lee; not sure what it translates to), while the Pâriktaru’s name for the Lakȟóta is “páhriksukat / paahíksukat’ (“cuts the throat”). This was the last major engagement between the Lakȟóta and the Pâriktaru, and likely the reason the latter people decided to leave their home area of Nebraska and move to a reservation in Oklahoma (referred to as “Indian Country”), where they remain. However, over the coming years the U.S. Army hired up to 200 Pâriktaru scouts to protect railroads and engage in conflicts against US enemies [i.e., the Lakȟóta, the Tsitsistas (Cheyenne), and the Hinono'eino (Arapaho)]. It is worth noting that with the most dangerous northern plains enemy being the Lakȟóta--and their word for male greeting being “Hau” (i.e., Hau kola—hello, friend) it’s really no surprise that the greeting employed by 1st Nations characters in western movies—regardless of tribe—became “how!”



posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 01:34 AM
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Thank you for sharing.

As you say, it is an old post - where one did see a lot more Native Americans in film, but only in terms of the Sioux or Lakota.

All other nations were portrayed as enemies, or not at all.

So it seemed like tribalism at the time.

And it was, it was always essentially the Sioux versus the Punks.
Most of the 1990's.

First time I heard some tribes lived by fishing, not hunting buffalo was Smoke Signals (1998).
edit on 29-11-2018 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 01:38 AM
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a reply to: halfoldman
PART 2

So now you can see why the U.S. Army in its campaigns against the Lakȟóta, Tsitsistas, and Hinono'eino enlisted the help of scouts from various other tribes--all of whom had no love lost for the three allies. Thus, working for Custer in the 1876 Battle of the Greasy Grass (the Lakȟóta name for the Little Big Horn) were Apsáalooke (Crow) and Newe (Shoshone) scouts, while Custer’s allegedly favorite scout (who died at the Little Big Horn with him) was Bloody Knife, an Arikara warrior (same Caddoan language family as the Pâriktaru, the Arikara having split from the Pâriktaru some 300 years ago). Pâriktaru scouts also served the Army after the Little Big Horn tracking and fighting stray Cheyenne and Arapaho until disbanded by the Army in 1877. Dances with Wolves portrays the Pâriktaru as the bad guys against a relatively ‘peaceful’ Lakȟóta village and in real life, to some degree, they were; but the Lakȟóta were just as much the bad guys at other times (hence the Pâriktaru’s name for them). Oddly enough, the primary Pâriktaru (Pawnee) bad guy in the movie is played by actor Wes Studi--who is actually ethnically Cherokee (same language family as the Iroquois peoples). An odd note: None of the villagers in Dances with Wolves ever mentions which of the seven Lakȟóta lodges (we would say ‘tribes’) that they are part of, i.e., the Sičháŋǧu [Brulé, “Burned Thighs”], Oglála ["They Scatter Their Own"], Itázipčho [Sans Arc, “Without Bows”], Húŋkpapȟa [“End Village”], Mnikȟówožu [Miniconjou, “Planters by the water”], Sihásapa [“Blackfeet”—not the Algonquian people], or the Oóhenúŋpa [“Two Kettles”]—that the village is part of is never stated (or at least, I never caught it).
In the Southwest United States, the primary enemies of the U.S. Army were the Nʉmʉnʉʉ [Comanche; Uto-Aztecan language family speakers like their northern cousins, the Newe, i.e., the Shoshone--from whom they had split in the 1600s; remember, the Newe helped the U.S. Army), and the various Apache (Ndee) peoples (who are Athabaskan language family speakers, like the Navaho [Diné]).

So, are the peoples (i.e., Apsáalooke [Crow], Newe [Shoshone], Pâriktaru [Pawnee], and Arikara, among others) who decided to assist the U.S. Army in its work to carry out U.S. government policy (essentially “manifest destiny”) therefore “sellouts”? Did it prove beneficial for them to help the United States? In the short run, perhaps, but in the long run, it did not matter whether they helped, or did not-- because the United States had no intention of allowing the 1st Nations’ peoples’ traditional way of life to stand in the way of the United States taking as much territory as it could possibly get (by whatever means). The eastern tribes were already long overrun; it was unreasonable to expect any difference in the West. The Cherokee (Iroquoian language family) in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia, for example, were the only 1st Nations people to ever create a writing system of their own for their language. Sequoyah designed the Cherokee syllabary in 1821, and it was officially adopted by the Cherokee nation in 1825. The Cherokee’s literacy rate quickly surpassed that of many of their European neighbors; they wrote a constitution, published a Cherokee language newspaper, and sent non-voting representatives to Congress. Was this Cherokee attempt at joining the White man’s world a sellout? Was not assimilation, after all, the goal hoped for them by the European settlers of America? Sellout or not—did it provide the Cherokee any tangible benefit?
Apparently not, in the short run at least. President Andrew Jackson, at the urging of Southerners hungry for Cherokee land, had no problem signing The Indian Removal Act in 1830, which by 1838 forced the newly literate Cherokee (and other southern tribes) to pack up whatever they could carry at bayonet point and begin the long, arduous 800 mile trip to Oklahoma (the Trail of Tears). The Cherokee had attempted to oppose the act (even going to court), and there was considerable opposition from the Whigs (a political party) and from people in New England, but for the Cherokee, assimilating and living a civilized life like the white man proved to be a pipe dream that afforded no tangible benefit when greed was involved. Indeed, nothing really mattered in the course of events, and there was really very little that would have made any significant difference to the eventual outcome.



posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 01:38 AM
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a reply to: halfoldman

See, now THIS is why I love coming to ATS. The sort of question I've always wondered at the back of my mind but never asked, or always just assumed that's how it was.

Unfortunately, I can't add anything further to the actual discussion but I'll keep an eye on this thread with interest.

Maybe Elizabeth Warren would be able to shed some light on it?



posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 02:12 AM
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a reply to: halfoldman
Hehheh, I saw that one a long time ago, "Smoke Signals." There actually are some other decent movies out there, including "Last of the Dog Soldiers" (a story about some Tsitsistas [Cheyenne] who have managed to survive up in an obscure mountain locale still living the old way); "Windwalker" (though the main character is played by a white guy [British actor Trevor Howard], as the very old fellow that he was in this film, he could just as well have been native, and the entire film is in Tsėhésenėstsestȯtse (Cheyenne language) with English subtitles--though, granted, an Apsáalooke (Crow) warrior represents the bad guy (in the old days though, at least for the Cheyenne, the Crow WERE the bad guys). Pretty unique. There's also "Dreamkeeper"--which is primarily a Lakȟóta (i.e., Sioux) story, but uses a number of other stories from different peoples, including a Kanienke:ha (Mohawk -- who spoke an Iroquoian language) vignette, and several others. For problems found on the modern day reservations, there's a lot of fairly accurate detail in shows like "Longmire" (Longmire is a deputy in a town that borders a Tsitsistas (Cheyenne) reservation--isn't that an unusual concept? I'm a white guy by birth, myself--though 1st Nations peoples/languages have always interested me. My university major was German; I minored in Russian, and I lived for 7 years in Japan, and 6.5 in Korea.



posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 02:54 AM
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All good, but then who lives on the Coeur de d'Alene Reservation?

Who speaks the Siponi language?

Well somebody does:




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