In his movie Dances With Wolves actor Kevin Costner tries to do away with any preconceived notions that the viewer might have had about the Native American Indians being a savage and inhuman race. He does this by first unraveling the mysteriousness of the Indians then he brings the viewer to a point of connectedness with the Indians and their culture. We then come to a sincere appreciation for them as human beings and individuals and find ourselves siding with them in matters of allegiance. This movie accomplishes this goal with several tactics and strategies. As the story unfolds we follow the life of John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) and take on his emotions and therefore come to the same realizations that he does.
From the very beginning of the film we have a sense of compassion and empathy for John because he is injured and tries to die heroically. This form of justifiable suicide gives us a sense of his aimlessness and loneliness. Since most of the viewers have experienced some form of these feelings before we naturally want to hop on board with John's emotions and hold on for the ride. The first introduction we have to actual Indians themselves is when we find the Pawnee Indians discussing the idiocy of white men and how they should be destroyed. This band of Indians kill Timmons, a wagon driver who takes John to his new fort, and therefore we feel that our initial stereotypes are justified, however we do not see this through the eyes of John and therefore we are still susceptible to a reforming of our opinions. It is only through John's experiences and feelings that we feel truly attached to what is going on in the film.
Throughout his encounters with the Indians, specifically the Sioux, John begin...
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...s of the Indian, or have they. There is one last task that must be completed in order for the viewer to complete the enlightenment that was intended. When John is rescued by the Sioux we see that they are capable just like any other tribe of being both brutal, savage, and primeval in their attacks when they are passionate enough about what they are doing it for. In this action we see that the Sioux are therefore not the exception but merely our exception. They show us that the Native Americans were a people unlike any other with a very rich culture, a strong sense of family, and a passion for life that meant you worked hard and played even harder. They were not savages or barbarians in the typical sense they were individuals living together in harmony and strife the only way they knew how, which coincidently worked very well for them until the white man came along.
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