Dunbar’s Perspective on the Indians in the Film Dances with Wolves
This film starts out with a wounded Civil War Veteran at war, named John Dunbar, who shows characteristics of loyalty, honor, courage, fearlessness, and strong will. After healing from his wounds, a general, who had clearly lost his mind, sent him further in the West to make post. On his way there, he and the carriage man Timmons, saw unsightly and brutally body remains, that only Native Americans left behind after their slaughter. After reaching his station, everything started out normally with him making preparations for when the other Civil War Veterans would arrive; but, things changed after his first encounter with a Native American who paid Dunbar's fort a visit.
In the beginning of this film, the "White Man" viewed these Native Americans as vicious humans that had no remorse for individuals out of their race. They did not make it any better on their part either, because they continued with their in-human killings of the "white man", and tortures. One of their famous strategies, was known as "the scalping". When Dunbar and Timmons were traveling to the fort, they viewed a decayed body with an arrow sticking out of it. Then on his way back, Timmons was shot repeatedly with arrows, scalped, and left to die. When Dunbar first came into contact with an Indian, his first reaction was fear, but somehow he built up the courage, and walked bravely and naked to confront the Indian. He then realized that as the Indian ran cowardly away from him, the Indian was just as afraid of him as he was afraid of the Indian.
There are other scenes in the film that shows how these Indians might be portrayed as brutal savages. For example, when Dunbar was venturing about, he came into contact with a woman, who by her way of dressing was mistaken for an Indian woman, that was on the verge of suicide. After her ranting and raging, she fainted, and he then carried her back to her village. Instead of the Indians showing gratitude, some showed fear, while one man dragged the injured woman away from Dunbar and closer to his people. Another time, which is connected to this same woman, was when her family was brutally and heartlessly killed by Indians, and she alone remained to remember the episode in her past.