Reel Injun Film Analysis

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Reel Injun is a compelling, thought-provoking documentary that shows how movies have stereotyped Native Americans, and has shaped how society in general viewed Natives. The film seeks to show how Natives really are, and ultimately seeks to correct the Native stereotypes created through the Hollywood Native films. Neil Diamond discusses why films about Natives were originally created and how Natives were portrayed in the early years of film. Through the documentary he continues to show how Natives and their culture changed in the eyes of society. Neil Diamond reveals the truth behind the Native stereotypes and the effects it left on the Natives. He begins by showing how Hollywood generalizes the Natives from the clothing they wore, like feathers…show more content…
They brought real Natives to play the Natives on the big screen and eventually movies were created by Natives themselves. Around the same time was the Hippie movement; many people wanted to be like the Natives they saw in the films even though it was not an accurate depiction of the Natives. They liked the 'positive stereotypes' of the Natives in the movies, the family unity and their strength as warriors. In the 1960's the American Indian Movement (AIM) also began and in 1973 The genocide at Wounded Knee occurred. Jim Jarmusch says “That is a genocide that occurred and the [American] culture wanted to perpetrate the idea that [the natives] these people are now mythological, you know, they don’t even really exist, they’re like dinosaurs.” This shows just how much Americans wanted to belittle the Natives, and despite succeeding for a number of years, the New Age of Cinema commenced and movies like Smoke Signals began what some would look at as a Renaissance. The Renaissance explained in Reel Injun discusses the rebirth of the Native American in the Hollywood films, and how the negative stereotypes went away with time. Reel Injun also makes a point to explain how it impacted not only the films but Americans who watched them, and ultimately America as a
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