Cultural Scenes In Dances With Wolves

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To dance with someone is to become one with him. When you dance, you lay selves aside and you try to move as one person. Every step flows cautiously into the next. The dance is a journey; one that brings two often very different people together. For that brief time that the two are dancing, they act as one person, laying all differences aside. The film, Dances with Wolves, accomplishes this feat by disregarding cultural barriers and focuses on people for who they are as individuals. In the film, John Dunbar approaches the Indians with this same apprehension. John is a veteran of the Civil War and ventures to the American frontier, where he meets a tribe of Dakota (Sioux) Indians and befriends them. He tries to do away with any preconceived …show more content…
John chooses to leave his former life behind to join the Sioux (Dances, 1990). This paper will explore three specific scenes from Dances with Wolves and how these scenes have affected the issues of race and culture in America.

Since the founding of America, Native Americans have been labeled and stereotyped in many forms and ways. In Dances with Wolves, there was a scene where John Dunbar heads to the American frontier with a man named Timmons. Timmons guides John to a remote fort named Fort Sedgwick near South Dakota. Along the way to the fort, John asks Timmons, “Where are the Indians?” Timmons reply’s “Goddamn Indians…You just as soon not see them unless the bastards are dead…They’re nothing but thieves and beggars” (Dances, 1990). During the 1860s and 1870s as settlers headed in the Great Plains, they met various tribes of Indians. White settlers stereotyped that Indians were savages and killed people without mercy. However, many
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Fanon describes the native Caribbean’s first encounter with “mother country” and how blacks were forced to adapt to the customs and ideas of the colonizer. Fanon’s words can relate to Native American because they too met the mother country’s cultural standards and were “elevated” from their “primitive” status. Native Americans became acculturated when the Spanish, Mexicans, and American’s conquered them. Many natives were forced into reservations, sent to boarding schools to learn how to become “civilized”, and forcefully removed from their land. Samuel Cloud, a Cherokee Indian, shared a first-hand account of his experience as a child to his grandson when Andrew Jackson ordered the forced removal of Native Americans in Georgia in 1838. Cloud gives an insight into the harsh realities his family and community endured when the government forcefully removed the natives from their homes. This forced migration became known as the Trail of Tears. Cloud states, “I know what it is to hate. I hate those white soldiers who took us from our home, I hate the soldiers who make us keep walking through the snow and ice toward this new home that none of us ever wanted. I hate the people who killed my father and mother” (Tindall, Samuel Cloud). This first-hand account demonstrated how a Native American boy lost his

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