The Indian and the White Communites in Dances with Wolves and Machimanito

Powerful Essays
The Indian and the White Communites in Dances with Wolves and Machimanito

The film Dances with Wolves shares a lot of its content with the story Machimanito. In Dances with Wolves, two nations come to interact with each other. While the white man is dominating the land, the Indians are trying to protect both their land and themselves. In Machimanito, the story describes the epidemic and its effects on the Indians, while describing the ongoing conflict between Indians and the white man. There is a huge cultural difference between the white man and the Indians, which is reflected on their ways of life and communities; each lives a different life style including their interaction with nature and themselves, their authority within this community and finally the resulting conflict the interactions of these two nations.

John Dunbar makes contact with the Indians while being posted on the frontier. As his relationship develops with Kicking Bird and both gain each other’s trust, he becomes part of the Indian community; his final transition can be seen when he is known by the name Dances with Wolves. The differences between the white and the Indian community are shown to the viewer while Dunbar is exploring it and is becoming aware of the differences himself. Some of the differences are shown in the ways and objectives of hunting the buffalos. While the Indians use the buffalos for both food and use the skin for clothes, the white man hunts down buffalos for their skin and horns “killed only for their tongs and the price of their hides.” Dunbar says “One thing is clear however there is no buffalo and it weighs heavily on their minds.” This shows how important the buffalos are for the Indians, as their absence is a problem for thei...

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...e and accurate approach of the Indians, where the reader can feel the story and the events as if he was Nanapush himself, as apposed to see and try to figure out the feelings like in Dances with Wolves.

We can see that in both Machimanito and Dances with Wolves, there is a conflict between the white society and the Indian society. The white trespassing society intervenes with the traditions and customs of the Indians which causes a threat to their culture. Since the white man views the Indian community as being native and tries to educate it by colonizing and implementing their own ways. Both these literary pieces show this conflict and the effects of the colonization on the Indians. While Dunbar comes to the conclusion “Nothing I’ve been told about these people is correct. They are not beggar and thieves. They are not the bogie men they’ve been made out to be.”