Native Americans Portrayals in Western Films/Television Shows (Jeremiah…
Native Americans Portrayals in Western Films/Television Shows
The movie itself, tells the story of a mountain man named Jeremiah Johnson, who one day comes home to his cabin from hunting only to find his indian wife and son, murdered by "Flat-head" Indians. He then vows revenge against the entire tribe and one fight at a time, he is succesful.
Based on the novel "Crow killer: The Saga Of Liver-Eating Johnson"1958
Similar synopsis as the movie, one major difference is that in the novel, Johnson eats the livers of his victims to intimidate the tribe. It was decided though, that the Liver-eating part should best be left out of the movies.
The Story of "Liver-Eating" Johnson actually dates back to oral as well as written traditions from the mid 1800s. Various mentions of him exists in local writings and his service in the military was documented in the 1800s as well.
At The end of the movie shows johnson confronted by a Native and they make peace, thus forshadowing the end of the rivalry.
There is still the fact however that in the film, natives are depicted as warriors and dare I say, Savages? They are often used as background "props" to emphasize the obstacle that is "one with nature" most often showing the natives waiting in the bushes to ambush.
In 1974 Johnsons remains were moved from California to Wyoming after a LA middle school petition. It is worth noting that even Robert Redford attended to help welcome deceased Johnson back to his mountain home.
Though the movie was somewhat conscientious of the boundaries it walked, as evident through the revisions made from the book, The fact still remains that directors chose a story with a white male protagonists and Native American Antagonists.
The Latter-half of the film (post retaliation) depicts many one-on-one ambushes against Johnson in which he claims victory against overwhelming odds, such as numbers, terrain, weather ,starvation, etc. He is definitely the white hero.
Unlike the book, The movie at least implements the idea that Johnson provoked the Indians who slaughtered his family. In the movie, Johnson is requested to lead a cavalry across the mountain and they trek over a sacred Indian burial ground. Upon his arrival home, Johnson discovered his family murdered in retaliation.
The Ridiculous 6
This Adam Sandler movie has Natives at the butt of most jokes
The names given to Apache women like Beaver's Breath and No Bra were offensive to the viewers and the Natives working on the film
The Natives that spoke up about the way they were being portrayed in the movie were told to stop being so sensitive or leave
While the movie is Netflix's most viewed movie, it actually has a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sandler has been accused by multiple critics as "reducing indigenous people to props" and "using a community of people as a running joke"
Adam Sandler's character, Tommy, uses a special set of skills he got while being raised by Native Americans. The skills are very over the top as he's able to move "like the wind" in a tumble weed, make people hear things, and translate language.
This caused the Native actors to walk off set
Rob Schneider also stars in the movie so that speaks for itself
There are signs in the town that say "No Injuns Allowed" and "Redskins Keep Out
The film follows a group of strangers riding on a stagecoach through "dangerous" Apache territory.
throughout the entire western film, you only see Natives through the white man's perspective, led to stereotypical and negative portrayal
They were portrayed as threatening savages on the warpath, who are going to attack the stagecoach only because they are violent and spiteful people
Another interesting fact is that Native people do not even appear in the film until close to the end
By not showing Indians on screen until the end, the film establishes them as violent savages through the fear they inspire in the white travelers
The first Native we see is a beautiful woman dressed in traditional Native shawls, and they are not as fearful as they are of Native men
When the Apache finally attack, they arrive on horseback shooting arrows, being portrayed as savages, killing a woman and a baby for no reason
All of the Native American were dressed in feathers and war paint, another way the film portrays the "others"
1 more item...
The Lone Ranger
The story of The Lone Ranger is about a masked former Texas ranger who fights outlaws in the American Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto. There was the classic TV series from 1949-1957, and some film adaptations as well--the recent being from 2013. Both of these had controversy with the Indian character in the story named Tonto.
The series starred Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and
Jay Silverheels as Tonto.
Tonto was made the "Side Kick" to the ranger, which of course was another stereotype found. Why couldn't Tonto be the lead, why does he have to be the right hand man to the masked white guy?
The name Tonto means "stupid" in spanish, and many Native Americans, according to the NY Times, thought the show was insulting their culture and continuing on the racist Indian character themes just like in the movies.
The Lone Ranger would also refer to Tonto occasionally as his "Savage Partner"--which of course we all know is THE racist term thats been used in Hollywood to call the Indians. Props to the 2013 film though for not calling him that name.
In the 2013 film there was major backlash when Disney decided to cast a white actor--in this case Johnny Depp, as the Native American sidekick Tonto. This has been debated whether this was a good or bad move, but many Native Americans were not amused with this casting choice.
Adrienne Keene, a Harvard graduate student and member of the Cherokee Nation, who runs a blog called “Native Appropriations,” said she initially was unhappy the filmmakers didn’t come up with an Indian actor to play Tonto. However, after seeing the film she was relieved that no Indian actor played the role because in the film the character was "extremely stereotypical".
People were furious at this casting decision, because they were simply whitewashing the character just so they could have major star power to bring in more money at the box office.
Well Karma is a bitch because the movie was criticized heavily in reviews. It also received a 31% on rotten tomatoes from critics and was not well approved by audience members either.
Johnny Depp has stated he "believes" he has Native American ancestry, possibly from a great-grandmother. He has said that he considered the role a personal attempt "to try to right the wrongs of the past", in reference to portrayals of Native American culture in the media.