The Stereotypes Of Native American Culture In Smoke Signals

1630 Words 7 Pages
Before the Europeans, ancient hunters crossed the Bering strait to become the first inhabitants of what is now the United States. As Europeans explored, they found savage people inhabiting the land that they recently claimed. Countless times in the United States history, native people have been booted from their land and forced to move, pushed into boarding schools, and murdered all because they disgusted Europeans. In the time since the Europeans migrated to North America, the natives have only been abhorred and mocked. Even in today’s liberal society it is evident that the Native American culture is still subject to all kinds of discrimination, through TV shows, movies, and other types of media.
The movie Smoke Signals, directed by Chris
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Thomas’ story telling fits into the stereotypes of Native Americans. Good story tellers are an important part of Native American culture, always used to teach lessons and morals. Thomas talks and tells stories constantly throughout the film. Thomas seems to be a natural born story teller, more in touch with his elder and more authentic ethnic roots, which the members of his community enjoy. When he and Victor originally leave the reservation, he trades a story for a ride with two women driving around the reservation. As the trip dragged on, Thomas tells Victor all kinds of stories that he remembers of Arnold, which really bothers Victor. Victor becomes irate with Thomas a few times when talking about his dad, possibly because he isn’t ready to forgive his father for all of the things that he did to …show more content…
This was made apparent at multiple points, as it was a major theme in the film. The first example is towards the beginning of the movie, when Victor has a flashback of riding in the car with his father. Victor accidentally drops his father’s beer and gets backhanded. The next scene that displays alcoholism is where Arlene and Arnold are dancing and drinking at what seems to be an outdoor party. Victor tells his father that he doesn’t have a favorite parent, making him mad. Victor spends the rest of the night smashing all of his parent’s beer bottles. Arlene sees how their drinking is taking its toll on Victor so she tells Arnold that it needs to stop. Not wanting to give up drinking, Arnold leaves his family on the reservation. Another example wasn’t clear at the time that it was first portrayed, but the 4th of July party at Thomas’ family’s house is also an example of alcoholism in the movie. Their house burned down with the family inside, only Thomas survived after his mother tossed him through the window trying to save him. No one knew how the fire started until Arnold confides in Suzy Song before he dies. He tells Suzy about how he was preparing to set off fireworks while drunk and wanted to wake up Thomas’ family. He walked up to the windows, yelling in, when a firework went off. Right into their living room. The last example is at the end of the movie, the car accident scene. On their way home

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