Portrayal of Native Americans in Hollywood


We have all heard the story of how an explorer named Christopher Columbus discovered the route to the Americas. The land was inhabited by Civilizations we refer to as the Native Americans. The Americas developed into urban civilizations through the years and Hollywood became a medium of conveying messages to a wider audience.
Initially, movies and television depicted the Native Americans as absolute savages, Hollywood has gradually grown more awareness of how it portrays these people. As time passes, the movies about the Native Americans keep on improving their perspectives about these people and display more depth.
There are a number of movies which portray the lifestyle of these civilizations. Let’s take a look at what Hollywood tells about these indigenous people.

Dances with Wolves
A tale of a Civil War hero, Lieutenant John Dunbar posted in an abandoned remote outpost developing a relationship with the local tribe for survival. Attracted by the tribe’s simplicity, he adopts their lifestyle and is gradually accepted in the tribe. However, things escalate when the Army soldiers arrive with intentions of advancing on the plains which would dislocate the tribe.

The New World
The 2005 history-drama expresses about the colonization of North America and how an initial peace between the English explorers and the Native Americans ended up in bloodshed and chaos. It portrays the humanity of the Native Americans and how their princess Pocahontas saved the explorers from starvation despite a war waged between the two sides.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Set in 1880s just after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the 2007 chronicle illustrates the different views of three major characters: a tribal doctor considered as an example of cultural assimilation; a proud tribal chief refusing to accept the government policies regarding the Native Americans; a senator of the U.S. Government who designed the government policies.

A story set in the era of decline of the Mayan Civilization, the powerful Mayan Warriors raid remote tribes in search of human sacrifices to appease the Mayan Deities and stop the decline. A peaceful hunter is chosen and captured as one of the sacrifices. This is the story of how a peaceful young man is forced into the horrors of a new world and must risk everything to elude his captors and reunite with his family.

The Last of the Mohicans
Set in 18th Century, the French and the British armies wage a war for the control of the North American colonies. With the Native Americans forced to choose sides, the last members of a dying Native American tribe rescue and protect the kidnapped daughters of a British Colonel.
Native Americans are an important part of our modern civilization as they bring a rich culture and amazing history. Their cultures can be acknowledged, accepted and used in movies which may result in establishing a better bond between the Non-Native American citizen and a Native American citizen.