"Dances With Wolves" Analysis - Illustrate how Native-Americans & Native-American culture is represented in this film differently than in usual media presentations.

Essay by smashleeeHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2006

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The misguided portrayals of Native Americans in the media can be retraced back to outdated Western films. These films had the reoccurring theme of Cowboys versus Indians. Native Americans have been portrayed as thieving, violent, lazy, hostile, uncivilized savages. The White man thought the Natives were undeserving of the lands riches, when in fact their contributions to their environment changed and enriched our world. The White man is portrayed as brave and heroic. Western films aren't the only perpetrators. The classic, Tom Sawyer, depicts the Native-American as a violent drunk. Even the Disney movie, Pocahontas, fails to show an accurate anecdote. The media has created a false image of the relationship between Native Americans and White man to suppress the cruel and unfortunate reality. The film, "Dancing with Wolves," presents a truly realistic representation.

"Dances with Wolves" contradicts many of society's stereotypes of Native Americans. Lt. Dunbar reflected in his journal that the natives were not "beggars or thieves."

Once they understood that Lt. Dunbar wasn't meaning any harm, they were willing to communicate. Kicking Bird brought Lt. Dunbar a blanket, and in return he offered them food. Their generosity was clear. The Natives were not thieves, they were sharing. When the native had Lt. Dunbar's hat, instead of just taking it they compromised with a trade.

Another stereotype is that Native Americans are hostile and dislike White men. However, despite having negative experiences with White man, the Natives do not have hatred for all White people. They welcomed and accepted Lt. Dunbar, and Kicking Bird even entrusted him to look over his family while he was gone. The Sioux even raised Stands with a Fist as their own, after her family was killed. They didn't judge her because she was White. They accepted her as their...