White Man's Indi Native Americans And Hollywood Movies

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In her book Making the White Man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies, Aleiss discusses the history of the portrayal Native Americans in American films. Aleiss shows that Native Americans have not always been portrayed negatively or stereotypically in films, but instead they have been displayed in more complicated ways that have changed over the years. By explaining how the portrayal of Native Americans in film has changed over time, Aleiss provides a way to think about how Native Americans are being represented in films today. The complication of the way Americans presented Native Americans in film is contrasted by how Native Americans were treated in reality. Aleiss explains that even though producer “Young Deer and his contemporaries rarely promoted Indian assimilation into white society,” there were still “attempts to erase cultural differences between Indians and whites and absorb Native Americans into mainstream American society” (Aleiss, 3-4). Yet, Aleiss also goes on to say that Americans were interested in “the “exoticim”…show more content…
Aleiss explains how in the early 90’s, people began to call for actors that were “real Indians,” and although some Native Americans claimed that these new representations were authentic, “Not all Indians agreed” (Aleiss, 9). The conflict between what is authentic to some Native Americans and what is not regarding Native Americans in films also reminds readers that Native Americans cannot be grouped together and that they are made up of different tribes with different cultures. Aleiss also calls attention to a progressive aspect of Native American portrayal in films; one that involves Americans attempting to include a more real representation of Native Americans that shows their true ways of
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