Native Americans in Hollywood


Dances with Wolves is a movie staring Kevin Costner as Lt. John Dunbar. John wants to see the frontier before it is gone from the war so he goes to a fort there. When he gets to the fort he finds it abandoned and soon finds that there is a Sioux tribe as his neighbors. John becomes friends with the Sioux and learns their language. He lives with them and learns their culture. John falls in love with a woman named Stands with a Fist (Mary McDonnell) that was captured by the Sioux when she was little. They get married but then the white people come to kill the Native Americans. John attempts to talk to them but fails because they think he was a traitor. He ends up giving the Sioux guns and they kill the white men and go to the winter fort. Unfortunately, twelve years later all of the Sioux were killed.


There are many Native Americans in this movie. There is an old wise one and then many other leader figures. The old one likes John and says that he is the only white man he has known. John becomes a friend with one quiet one that was the “father” of Stands with a Fist. He gives advice to John and tells him what to do. He is one of the head people in the Sioux and he makes decisions about hunting and war. John also becomes close with a teenage Sioux named Smiles A Lot. They talk and trade Native American things with White people things.


In the beginning of the movie Native Americans are talked about as thieves and beggars. The white men state that they have to kill the “Indians” because they are thieves and beggars. The Native’s said they wanted to be recognized for their trail so they were going to kill the lieutenant. They are wearing animal skin and feathers, with a lot of face paint on and they speak a different language. One Native says the white men are a “poor race” and they won’t survive one winter. The Indians go to John’s house and looks through his things (thieves).


After awhile the old wise Sioux tells the others to go see John and try to talk with him. They start to teach each other their language. At first one of the men want to kill John but the other one tells him to clam down. He makes them coffee and lets them have sugar. They learn each other’s word for buffalo since the buffalo are very important to the Native Americans as the winter is coming soon. John starts to have the white woman to translate for him too so they can now communicate very well. The Natives are shown as excepting people.


At this point John is quite welcome among the Native Americans. He knows their language and spends a lot of time with them. The Sioux accept him; they even let him go on hunting trips. The Sioux are now seen as nice friendly people, which is a totally different message they were putting through at first. They have wars against other tribes to protect the wives and children of the tribe. By the end of the movie the Native Americans are seen as nice men that have to defend their land from the white men.