Reel Injun – Native American Portrayal in Hollywood

Reel Injun – Native
American Portrayal in Hollywood

Reel
Injun is an excellent documentary by Neil Diamond; he tries to highlight how
the Native Americans are depicted in Hollywood. He visits areas that represent
the Indian history, whereby, he interviews various people so as to have a clear
perception of the differences and similarities of how Indians are portrayed in
the movies and what is seen in reality. One of the lessons that can be obtained
from the movies is that there are notable differences and similarities of the
Native-American history as portrayed in Hollywood movies and what is viewed in
reality. For instance, he argues that Indians are portrayed as strong and
fearless people in Hollywood, which is far from the truth (Diamond, 2010).  He maintains that people still believe that
Indians still ride on horses a notion that has been created by Hollywood.
However, people lack to understand that some of the Indians have never mounted
on a horse in their lifetime. People tend to set up their image of the
Native-America. They use a few characteristics to describe the entire
community.

However,
although not all stereotypes are negative, they have developed an erroneous
image of a community. In the case, of the Indian culture, the media has played
a significant role strengthening the current stereotypes.  It is clear that the Native-Americans were
treated as primitive people who had a strange culture. For instance, the
Indian-Americans are viewed as primitive beings, wearing feathers. According to
many whites all the Native –Americans spoke staccato-like broken English. In
John Ford Westerns, it is apparent that there is miscommunication between the
Navajos and the White Americans (Diamond, 2010).
However, the White-Americans appear to be less concerned on the translations.

Another
important lesson that Chinese needs to learn is that Native Americans were
greatly segregated, and they lived in the poorest areas in America. They had to
fight for their existence, for instance, crazy horse leads one of the many
battles fought by the Indians. He is portrayed as a fierce Indian warrior who
fought for the existence of the Indians. However, he was later forced to
surrender which lead to the defeat of the community. It is also clear that the
white Americans did not give any regards towards the Native Americans. For
instance, although some of the Indian Americans were part of the various movies
created in Hollywood no one bothered to hear their side of the story. The
Navajos elders argue that although they were among the extras in John Ford
Westerns, no one consulted them about the real history of the Indians (Diamond, 2010). They never had a
chance to watch a movie that they were part of, which shows that they were
treated as a minority group. It is also evident that they could not afford some
of the luxuries that were enjoyed by the white Americans. For instance, they
did not have the means to watch the film; hence, they had to watch at their old
age.

Additionally,
it is evident that the Indians had strong principles and attitudes towards the
preservation of their culture. Although Hollywood tried to create their images
of the Indian culture, some of the producers have towards ensuring the world
saw the real Indian culture. The producers have developed movies depicting the
Indian culture and practices. For instance, the Atanarjuat displays the most
cherished legends of the Indian culture (Diamond, 2010).

References

Diamond, N. (Director). (2010). Reel Injun [Video file]. Retrieved June 25, 2016.

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