In 1775 North America was mostly owned and settled by Native Americans. Native Americans were the first settlers on North America, but slowly, when the Americans no longer needed the help of the Native Americans, they started to view them as savages and outsiders. They then began to weed out the traditionalists and have them assimilate to the American culture. “Thunderheart” is a incredible heartfelt film based on cultural identity, the mistreatment of indians over years of U.S. history, and factual events that took place in the 1970’s on the Oglala Sioux Reservation. The film is a loosely based fictional portrayal of events relating to the Wounded Knee incident in 1973. Followers of the American Indian Movement seized the South Dakota town of Wounded Knee in protest against federal government policy regarding Native Americans. As well as the turmoil within their own people on the American Indian …show more content…
Ray is sent to the badlands by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help smooth over the confrontation between the government and the native americans. By being “himself” and assisting in solving a murder that took place on the reservation. However, Ray has no idea who he is and to make matters worse what he thinks is just another case turns out to be a complex chain of corruption starting and ending with the FBI which, he thought were “the good guys” due to the power struggles within the Sioux reservation. In “Thunderheart”, Ray Levoi goes through a series of changes while on the reservation all in regards to his identity. Ray is stripped of his former social identity of being a F.B.I. Agent, which is then replaced with his cultural identity of being part Sioux Indian. During the course of the film Ray Levoi’s life transitions take place if stages displayed by objects that serve as cultural misunderstandings. These objects include his sunglasses, necktie, and his
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In 1864, the Sand Creek Massacre occurred which was very brutal. Four hundred Indians were living in the area at the time and thought that they were safe from the United States Government but suddenly the government began to kill all of the Indians on the settlement. This wasn’t the only place where this happened. This was happening in almost every
Times were very hard for Native Americans during the mid to late 1800s. The reasons for their afflictions could only be blamed upon the United States of America. For thousands of years, Native Americans had roamed around the Americas. There had also been many tribes spread across the West that fought between each other in order to have their land.1 It wasn’t until after reconstruction in the United States, that the white Americans started having ordeals with the Native Americans. The main tribes involved in the conflict starting around 1850 were the Lakota people and the Sioux. The relationship between them can only be remembered for broken treaties and wars. It is true that these tribes had only mind there own business for many centuries for the White Americans. It wasn’t around the 1850’s, that the United States were interested in the gold that was existing in the territories the belonged to the Native Americans. This would be the starting point of what historians call the Indian Wars that would last about half a century. The question is though, why? Why were there so many battles between the United States government and the Native Americans? Why was there so many hatred between them? Finally, who caused the violence? Many historians would believe that the government only wanted to have gold and then leave the Indian’s at peace and that they were the ones that acted irrationally. However, this is in fact a lie. It is genuine that they also wanted to rob them from there identity and who the Native Americans were as people. There was something much more than just gold in the Indian Wars. Although it may seem that the United States government only wanted riches from the Native American’s land, they actually wanted to extract t...
“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” A quote from William Shakespeare discusses the trait of identity. Identity applies to the film as it is a part of different characters and groups throughout the film. A majority of Americans have always been stereotyping Native Americans and the film Thunderheart, stereotyping takes place towards Native Americans. The film was released in 1992 and is about an American FBI agent with an Indian background, Ray Levoi. He goes to a reservation with his partner, Frank Coutelle, to investigate a murder. At first, Ray disregards the Natives but by the end of the film, he embraces his heritage and considers himself a Native American rather than an uptight, FBI agent. In the scene at Red Deer Table, the FBI’s and Ray’s true identities are revealed as the Natives are taken advantage of.
Thunderheart is a movie inspired by the sad realities of various Native American reservations in the 1970’s. This is the story of a Sioux tribe, conquered in their own land, on a reservation in South Dakota. Thunderheart is partly an investigation of the murder of Leo Fast Elk and also, the heroic journey of Ray Levoi. Ray is an F.B.I. agent with a Sioux background, sent by his superior Frank Coutelle to this reservation to diffuse tension and chaos amongst the locals and solve the murder mystery. At the reservation, Ray embarks on his heroic journey to redeem this ‘wasteland’ and at the same time, discovers his own identity and his place in the greater society. Certain scenes of the movie mark the significant stages of Ray’s heroic journey. His journey to the wasteland, the shooting of Maggie Eagle Bear’s son, Ray’s spiritual vision, and his recognition as the reincarnation of “Thunderheart,” signify his progression as a hero and allow him to acculturate his native spirituality and cultural identity as a Sioux.
The movie starts by showing the Indians as “bad” when Johnson finds a note of another mountain man who has “savagely” been killed by the Indians. This view changes as the movie points out tribes instead of Indians as just one group. Some of the tribes are shown dangerous and not to be messed with while others are friendly, still each tribe treats Johnson as “outsider.” Indians are not portrayed as greater than “...
All of the major Indian massacres of the 19th Century happened in the winter months and Wounded Knee was no exception, it took place in December of 1890 in South Dakota. The U.S. had grown irate over the Indians increased religious enthusiasm and even after banning it they still continued to partake. The same white officials that created the ban ordered the U.S. military to put an end to the Indians disobedience at any cost. A fight broke out that involved the police and Indians which left six police officers and Sitting Bull as well as seven warriors dead. This altercation led to the warrant of arrest of several so called Indian renegades. Led by Colonel James Forsyth, the U.S. army surrounded the campsite of the Lakota Indians with Hotchkiss canons and outnumbered the Indians 250. After receiving resistance from the Indians the army opened fire on the Indians who were trying to run for cover killing men, women and even children
The United States may be glamor of hope and prosperity for many nations still undergoing democratic maturity and development; however, her story is one that combines deadly struggles and an array of governmental decisions that defined the path to freedom of now the world’s most powerful country. One of the ways to understand the history of the United States is through revisiting the Trail of Tears, which is documented in the film. We Shall Remain: Trail of Tears. Notably, the film documentary with five parts in total highlighting the history of Native Americans from the 17th
By implementing pictures, ideas, and interviews in the film made it seem authentic and presented by individuals who took part. The illustrations of tanks, helicopters, and guns formed an emotional stance with mournful music following while the Americans were forcing the Indians off of American ground where they did not belong. Trudell explains how Indian children are getting to know the relationship between the government and themselves. The Indians want to be treated as human beings, treated equally, and to be treated with respect. Why could they not obtain the same level of respect as others
Yet again a troop of soldiers, this time being Lieutenant Colonel George Custer’s seventh Calvary, marched in on the Cheyenne village and began slaughtering them to the tune of “Garry Owen”. Custer being quote “unpopular with a poor record” located a large village of Cheyenne encamped near the Washita River and without even attempting to identify which group of Cheyenne was in the village he sought blood. If Custer’s arrogance hadn’t consumed him, he would have discovered that they were peaceful people and that their village was on reservation soil, where the commander of Fort Cobb had assured them safety. A white flag was even seen flying from a large lodge pole symbolling peace and “that the tribe was actively avoiding conflict”. Custer had his troops surround the peaceful Cheyenne village the night before and once again soldiers charged into a sleeping village. With the village being asleep, caught off guard, and outnumbered the seventh Calvary was able to kill dozens of Cheyenne just in the first few minutes of this so called “battle”. Only a few of the warriors were able to run to the tree line for cover and return fire on the Calvary. However, within just a few hours Custer and his Calvary had managed to completely destroy an entire village killing over a hundred Cheyenne, most were women and
Native American society has undergone many transformations. The People were once strong enough to withstand nature and her elements but could not avoid becoming collateral damage as the White Man went forward in his quest for Manifest Destiny. Instead they became slaves to that which was deemed socially appropriate by their conquerors, were removed from their homeland only to be placed in unfamiliar territory, and for centuries have grappled with changing identities. This ambivalence has been passed down from generation to generation.
As society continues colonial discourse and disregards current reservation conditions, letting them live in third-world plight, we are attacking their culture. The harm, both mentally and physically, is seen as Pine Ridge experiences the following; a teenage suicide rate four times higher than the U.S. national average, an infant mortality rate 300% higher than the U.S. average, a tuberculosis rate 800% higher than the U.S. average, a cervical cancer rate 500% higher than the U.S. average, and a diabetes rate 800% higher than the U.S. average (True Sioux Hope Foundation: The Need). By continuing to underrepresent Native Americans within media and textbooks, along with keeping them portrayed in a historical perspective through stereotype, the United States is inflicting these conditions of life on Native American groups. Thus, we are destroying Pine Ridge and its culture as younger residents such as Jamie Turninghory want to “escape the reservation” or decide to commit suicide in a sense of
Wounded Knee was originally referred as a war, but in reality it was a tragic and avoidable massacre, the American Indian Movement (AIM) was founded in 1968 in an effort to stop police harassment of Indians in the Minneapolis area, however many mainstream
All throughout the South Dakota plains the tribes of The Sioux Nation take shelter and celebrate their traditions and spiritual rituals. Although, the Sioux soaked up the peace of the nation they also prepared for the wars that they faced. The Sioux hid in the tall grasses and brush of the great South Dakota land, just waiting for the right time to jump up and sneak attacked the white settlers that had tried many times to take the land and religion from the Sioux. The Sioux fought hard to get back what was taken from them. The Sioux weren’t meant for backing down. They sacrificed their lives for their freedom, land, and religion. They fought until they received back what was taken. The
...views of these people and what they are expected to be, is taken away as the viewer realizes that the life of the natives is very common and understandable. This film almost goes to prove that often the reason that a certain group is tagged by prejudice views, is because little is known about where they are coming from, how they live or what they are experiencing in life. The film Dances With Wolves does a good job of proving that often our stereotypical views of others are inaccurate, and that the Native Americans of the west were not all that different from the whites that also inhabited the plains.
The video “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee,” tells the story of being pushed onto reservations in the Midwest and Black Hills negotiations. The main characters include Charles Eastman, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull. These characters each play a significant role in capturing the emotional state of life among the governing agencies and tribal members.