Positive Portrayal of Native Americans in the Film, Dances With Wolves

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Positive Portrayal of Native Americans in the Film, Dances With Wolves

The film Dances With Wolves, attempts to change our stereotypical view of Native Americans, as savage and uncivilized people, by allowing us to see life from their perspective, helping us to realize that many of their experiences are not all that different from our own. The main setting of the film is the Great Western Plains of North Dakota. John Dunbar comes to discover the west before it is completely destroyed through settlement and what he actually finds is a group of people that he comes to understand and love, for all of the qualities that he finds within their individual lives. The Sioux soon become a part of John Dunbar's experience not only in the west, but
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Right away the viewers come to respect Dunbar for his bravery and fearless attitude, and respect his decisions as well.

One of the first scenes of the frontier is a shot of it in its plain and lonely grandeur. There is nothing in sight, and then just to spur our prejudice views of the Natives, there is a human skeleton in view with the simplicity of the plains in the background. This scene creates in us a fear that the Native Indians are hidden in the hills beyond view waiting to launch a savage attack on an innocent white. This stereotypical view is slowly changed throughout the film however, as John Dunbar comes to know the Natives on a personal level.

One of the first ways that the film begins to work on our emotions is by introducing us to a creature that like the natives, we would primarily tag as being savage and wild. This wolf makes short, curious visits to the post as if trying to see if Dunbar can be trusted. We see that the wolf is harmless and that it simply wants the companionship of Dunbar. The wolf seems to warn Dunbar of impending danger and becomes a symbol of the Sioux throughout the film.

The first meeting of Dunbar with a Sioux Indian, comes to him, when he is vulnerable, unarmed and bathing nude in the pond behind his post. Dunbar is frightened at first, but it is clear that the Indian has a gentle face and that he is not out to

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