Question: Are there any books about the depiction Native Americans in films?
Answer: There are several. One of the earliest is The Only Good Indian by Ralph and Natasha Friar pulished in 1972 by Drama Book SPecialists in New York. Check your local libraries since new books keep appearing.
Questins: What kinds of films ae there about American Indians? Answer: It is possible to classify films in many ways, but certainly we can distinguish films made about American Indians by Indians and those made about American Indians by non-Indians. Both groups make films which are documentary and also narrative. It is not always easy to decide just when a film is made "by and Indian" since in many cases they may be made by so called "mixed bloods" or fimsin which only a part of the creative team is Indian. It is also possible to define filmes as to whether they are thought of as pro-Indian or anti-Indian. Question:What documentary films are there about American Indians?
Answer: There are many films which are classified as documentary starting perhaps with Nanook of the North which has been debated as to its true documentary nature, since the people inolved were hunting in ways that they no longer actually did but har recreated for the film. Deciding on how mush of a documentary film is "staged" or "altered" by the maker if the film is a common problem with many so called documentaries. One need only consider the problems raised with Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine and Farenheit 9/11. A site, Bowling for Truth, for example attempts to show all of Moore's "deceptions" in the films.
Question:Are there any films that deal with contemporary Native Americans?
Answer: Yes, both commercial and documentary. Films like PowWow Highway, and Smoke Signals, The Business of Fancy Dancing, and Skins are some of the films that have tried to look at current situations and are written and directed by members of different tribes.
Question: What commercial films depict American Indians?
Answer: More than we would care to know about! Indians have appered regualrly in films. Some films, like Stagecoach, although specifically claims to deal with Geronimo, offers the audience a depiction of Indians as a nameless faceless menace that threatened the arriving "Anglo" population. Indians might as well been a flood, a plague of locusts, anything that denied them title to the land or showed the encroaching population as an "aggressor".
Some later films become more sympathetic, suchs as the "biographies" of Ira Hayes (The Outsider in which Ira Hayes is played by Tony Curtis) and Jim Thorpe (The Jim Thorpe Story in which Jim Thorpe is played by played by Burt Lancaster). Other later films make an attempt to "show he Indian side" as in Soldier Blue, Dances with Wolves, and Black Robe
Are there any films made by American Indians?
Not as many as we would like to see. In addition to those listed above the fascinating Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) directed by Zacharias Kunuk is completely in Inuit with English sub titles.
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