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Race and Hollywood - Native Americans


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I don't think anyone would put forth the proposition that all European Americans were

Indian killers or slave owners, though the Founding Fathers were well represented in the

latter category. It probably only took a small proportion of whites to accomplish the dis-

placement of the Indians, and the enslavement and the later segregation of Africans, since

most whites were not slaveholders. But many whites, either directly or indirectly, benefited,

in varying degrees, from the repression of the two other groups.

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> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> But many whites, either directly or indirectly, benefited, in varying degrees, from the repression of the two other groups.

 

I would go so far as to say that nearly all white Americans benefited - directly or indirectly - from this; certainly the U.S.A. as we know it today would not be nearly as big geographically nor as prosperous over most of its history without having resorted to that.

 

Taking away half of Mexico's territory didn't hurt U.S. interests, either - so nearly all people of color paid in one way or another for the expansion and commercial prosperity of America over the years.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> I was talking about the movie and the scenes that represented the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde about 1200 years ago. They had no cloth.

>

> You are talking about the advanced tribes of Mexico and Central America, which were not in the movie.

>

> The Puebelos and Navajos didnt get weaving until the Spanish taught it too them, and then it was coarse wool for rugs and blankets. Not fine cotton cloth for clothes.

>

> In many Western movies set in the 1860s-80s, Indian actors are shown wearing Pendleton blankets, which were manufactured by machine at a factory, starting in 1909, but the audience is supposed to think the 1860s Indians wove those blankets. But they did not.

 

Well, I knew that the Anasazi (which includes Mesa Verde) raised cotton, so I looked it up, and they raised it starting at least 1200BCE. I checked a bit more, and found that weaving was a dominant craft in the Indians of the Southwest, at the time of first contact, and that the first Spaniards to arrive reported seeing the Navajo weaving blankets. But, I'm sure they weren't Pendelton. And, I'm sure they learned new tech, and I know they got new sheep, from the Spanish.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weaving#American_Southwest

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FredC - getting back to *The Unforgiven*, I found some of John Huston's reflections on that film in a book I have. I will post them here a bit later, when I have the time to type them up.

 

JackF. - did you by chance see *Thunderheart* the other night? I watched it because of Val Kilmer and Graham Greene. Very different for me, because it was a newer movie that I had never seen before.

thunderheart.jpg

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I didn't get to see it CF, sorry. Was it good? I didn't know that Graham Greene was in it. I think I actually listened to the book it was based on during a long car trip once. You know, it was one of those books on tape? Very interestingly written. I can watch most of it on youtube.

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JackF - I liked it - a lot of guns and action, but it was was entertaining. And interesting to see the changes Val Kilmer's character went through. He played an FBI agent and Greene was the local marshal. No horses in this one. And guess what, I'm glad that a newer movie played, 'cause it was new to me.

093.jpg

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Thanks for the photo! I watched what I could on youtube, in which every other section was deleted. It looked good but only gave me a "cliff notes" version of the movie. I may go check the book out my library, or rent the movie from Netflix. I liked the spirituality parts of the film the best.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> The cloth shown worn by the Indians in The Vanishing American at the time of the arrival of the Spanish is store-bought machine-woven cloth.

 

 

I don't doubt that for a minute!

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> {quote:title=JackFavell wrote:}{quote}

> I didn't get to see it CF, sorry. Was it good? I didn't know that Graham Greene was in it. I think I actually listened to the book it was based on during a long car trip once. You know, it was one of those books on tape? Very interestingly written. I can watch most of it on youtube.

 

I've seen it before, and have yet to watch the recording I made this time. It is a good film. All who saw it, well everyone really, should be sure to see *Incident At Oglala*, made the same year, by the same director - Michael Apted. *IAO* is a documentary about the same situation *Thunderheart* was based on! It is a great film.

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*Thunderheart* is a fictional dramatization of the incidents that occurred at the Pine Ridge Reservation back in the 1970s. The American Indian Movement, which included Leonard Peltier, were forced into a showdown with Reservation police and the FBI. Two agents were ambushed and Peltier was convicted of the crime. He is currently serving a life sentence at Leavenworth.

 

Evidence has come forth since then that points to him not being guilty of the crime.

 

*Incident at Ogalala* is the documentary that Apted made about that story. I believe the book by Peter Mathiesson, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse , is the source material for Apted.

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Hello Cinemafan:

 

RE: Thunderheart

 

I caught most of it the other night too. A very unexpected suprise. I missed the first twenty minutes or so, but caught the rest.And I have to say it was better than I expected (as I started to get into the story) I happened on it totally by accident and did not know what it was as I was flipping through the channels. (ha.. I stopped to watch it because I could not figure out what Val Kilmer was doing on TCM, ha. I mean... come on... first Top Secret and now this..ha. It's a dadgum film fest for him. HA!! Ok.. kidding, only kidding... all you Val Kilmer people can sit back down)

 

But wow, I was drawn into this film the more I watched. I am not usually one for the mystical aspects that much of the story dealt with, (and I could have totally done w/out all the F-words that were flying all over the place too) but I have to say that I found the gradual 'awakening" of Kilmer's character (especially as he dealt w/ the Grandfather and got more and more drawn to him) really intriguing to the point that I had to keep watching if only to see how that part of the story would eventually play out.

 

I say again... I found it all an unexpected surprise.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> *Thunderheart* is a fictional dramatization of the incidents that occurred at the Pine Ridge Reservation back in the 1970s. The American Indian Movement, which included Leonard Peltier, were forced into a showdown with Reservation police and the FBI. Two agents were ambushed and Peltier was convicted of the crime. He is currently serving a life sentence at Leavenworth.

>

> Evidence has come forth since then that points to him not being guilty of the crime.

>

> *Incident at Ogalala* is the documentary that Apted made about that story. I believe the book by Peter Mathiesson, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse , is the source material for Apted.

 

 

Rather unusual for the same director to make a fictionalized account of a tale, then a doc on the same subject, don't you think? And, they are both fine films, too.

 

I don't want to bring politics into this, but I was VERY disappointed that Clinton did not pardon Leonard Peltier. BTW, it's Oglala, not "Ogalala." I almost make that mistake myself.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> I don't want to bring politics into this, but I was VERY disappointed that Clinton did not pardon Leonard Peltier.

 

See this:

 

?I appear today to oppose the parole request of Leonard Peltier, who is serving two consecutive life sentences for the murders of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams. We in the Federal Bureau of Investigation vehemently oppose granting Mr. Peltier parole.

 

The intentional and vicious attack by Mr. Peltier was not simply a blatant attack on two FBI special agents; it was an attack on law enforcement as a whole?an attack on the rule of law. The inevitable haziness brought on by the passage of time does not diminish the brutality of the crimes or the lifelong torment to the surviving families. Those surviving families extend beyond the Coler and Williams? to the entire FBI family. Moderation or lenience in terms of Mr. Peltier?s sentence can only signal disregard and disrespect to the law enforcement community as a whole, and to the families of Special Agents Coler and Williams.

 

---

 

During the shootout with Mr. Peltier and his associates, all of whom were members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Special Agents Coler and Williams were wounded. However, their wounds were not fatal. Mr. Peltier approached these two agents as they lay on the ground, wounded and disabled. Mr. Peltier then shot both agents at point-blank range.

 

Corroborating evidence confirms this chain of events. During Mr. Peltier?s trial, a witness testified that he saw Mr. Peltier standing by the agents? cars, holding an AR-15 gun?the gun used to execute Special Agents Coler and Williams. No other individuals were witnessed holding or shooting that particular gun on that day. Several witnesses testified that the AR-15 was Mr. Peltier?s weapon.

 

---

 

In 1975, Oregon State Police stopped a station wagon and a motor home in which Mr. Peltier was traveling. He again evaded capture during a gun fight and fled to Canada. Upon searching the vehicles, Oregon authorities recovered from the motor home Special Agent Coler?s service revolver in a paper bag bearing Mr. Peltier?s thumbprint.?

 

http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/speeches/harrington072809.htm

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Fred, I have seen all that, and think most of it has been well refuted. Certainly, much of the evidence used in court has been impeached. But, even if it were all true, I would still definitely be in favor of pardoning Peltier. I think that Native Americans have the right to defend themselves from assault by the FBI, while on their own land.

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I am looking forward to both THE SQUAW MAN and LAST OF THE MOHICANS.

As I understand it, the presentation of LOTM is a restored print and new score from the Mont Alto Orchestra. I recommend recording THE SILENT ENEMY (1930), which I believe is on Thursday late.

It is a really interesting look at native life pre Columbus.

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To all readers - the variety of topics on this series is a testament to our interest. Many different topics and conversations going on in this thread.

> {quote:title=rohanaka wrote:}{quote}

> Hello Cinemafan:

>

> RE: Thunderheart

>

> I caught most of it the other night too. A very unexpected suprise. I missed the first twenty minutes or so, but caught the rest.And I have to say it was better than I expected (as I started to get into the story) I happened on it totally by accident and did not know what it was as I was flipping through the channels. (ha.. I stopped to watch it because I could not figure out what Val Kilmer was doing on TCM, ha. I mean... come on... first Top Secret and now this..ha. It's a dadgum film fest for him. HA!! Ok.. kidding, only kidding... all you Val Kilmer people can sit back down)

>

> But wow, I was drawn into this film the more I watched. I am not usually one for the mystical aspects that much of the story dealt with, (and I could have totally done w/out all the F-words that were flying all over the place too) but I have to say that I found the gradual 'awakening" of Kilmer's character (especially as he dealt w/ the Grandfather and got more and more drawn to him) really intriguing to the point that I had to keep watching if only to see how that part of the story would eventually play out.

>

> I say again... I found it all an unexpected surprise.

Ro - I am enjoying this series very much - such a variety of films. Val Kilmer made quite an impression on me in *Tombstone*, so I'm up for checking out more of his movies on TCM. *Thunderheart* took place over three days, as I recall, so all the changes took place fairly quickly. I noticed it not only in his manner, but in his dress. He went from a suit to short sleeve dress shirt to polo shirt to tshirt and jeans. I am glad that you and I discovered this movie - and I'd like to see it again. Here is a photo of the late Ted Thin Elk, whose first movie role, at age 72, was in *Thunderheart*. (Val better keep an eye on that watch.)

i]Y+TZxoIgibuNqX_WdyaR93CQKl5i9e9XA==.jpg

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FredC.- here is that excerpt from *An Open Book*, autobiography of John Huston, 1980, Chapter 26

 

"It was then that I made the mistake of agreeing to direct a Western called *The Unforgiven*. Hecht-Hill-Lancaster had come to me with the proposal. I read the script by Benn Maddow (who had worked with me on The Asphalt Jungle), considered the strength of the cast - Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Audie Murphy, Charles Bickford and Lillian Gish - and decided to do it. I thought I saw in Maddow's script the potential for a more serious - and better- film than either he or Hecht-Hill-Lancaster had originally contemplated; I wanted to turn it into the story of racial intolerance in a frontier town, a comment on the real nature of community "morality." The trouble was that the producers disagreed. What they wanted was what I had unfortunately signed on to make when I accepted the job in the first place - a swashbuckler about a larger-than-life frontiersman.

 

This difference of intention did not become an issue until we were very close to shooting time, and quite mistakenly I agreed to stick it out, thus violating my own conviction that a picture-maker should undertake nothing but what he believes in - regardless. From that moment the entire picture turned sour. Everything went to hell. It was as it some celestial vengeance has been loosed upon me for infidelity to my principles.

 

Some of the things that happened are painful to remember. While were shooting in Durango in Mexico, Audrey Hepburn fell off a horse an fractured a vertebra in her back. I felt responsible, having puter her on a horse for the first time. No matter that she had had a good teacher, was brought on slowly, and turned out to be a natural rider. When her horse bolted and some idiot tried to stop it by throwing up his arms, her fall was on my conscience. It delayed shooting for three weeks. Then there was the near-drowing of Audie Murphy and an old friend of mine from Army days named Bill Pickens, who had gone out duck-shooting on a lake in Durango. Audie, who had a back hip from a war wound, couldn't swim, and Bill wouldn't leave him......

 

But in the end the worst of it was the picture we made. Some of my pictures I don't care for, but *The Unforgiven* is the only one I actually dislike. Despite some good performances, the overall tone is bombastic and over-inflated. Everybody in it is bigger than life. I watched it on television one night recently, and after about half a reel, I had to turn the damned thing off. I couldn't bear it."

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Ah, thanks very much.

 

Yeah, I figured that the problem was with the producers and not with Houston. He was too experienced to make a movie this bad, but the producers were still inexperienced as producers.

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Of course I am enjoying the series, as I do most of the TCM films.

 

I am very disappointed in Guest Host Professor Hanay Geiogamah, director of the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. I think he has spent too many years in the ivory tower of academia. His comments are rarely informative or enlightening about the film - but instead they seem to be part of his own personal agenda.

 

Even when he does make a good point, his manner is so condescending or abrasive that I have to just look away until the movie starts.

 

There are many more informative comments and writings here on this thread than he has presented.

 

I am 1/16 Cherokee - which isn't much - but I am very interested in Native American Heritage and have studied my own back several generations.

 

Please, TCM, screen your "experts" a bit better. I don't mind learning something - but I hate being lectured to like I don't know ANYTHING.

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> {quote:title=Holly wrote:}{quote}

> Of course I am enjoying the series, as I do most of the TCM films.

>

> I am very disappointed in Guest Host Professor Hanay Geiogamah, director of the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. I think he has spent too many years in the ivory tower of academia. His comments are rarely informative or enlightening about the film - but instead they seem to be part of his own personal agenda.

>

> Even when he does make a good point, his manner is so condescending or abrasive that I have to just look away until the movie starts.

 

Yes, well, uhh... this is Show-Business!

 

The professor is not 100% Indian. He?s part Irish.

 

?Geiogamah was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, on 22 June 1945 to Lola Clark, of Irish and Delaware Indian descent, and Claude Geiogamah, a Kiowa.?

http://www.bookrags.com/biography/hanay-geiogamah-dlb/

 

His real name is ?Henry Lee Geiogamah?. He went to high school in Anadarko, Oklahoma.

 

Here?s a brief bio of him.

http://tinyurl.com/36ld3ll

 

Here?s his American Indian Dance Theater:

 

There is no business like show business:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8269504015699997926#

 

Those are 20th Century theatrical costumes. Those colors are from modern artificial dyes. Buffalo Bill started this theatrical type of ?Wild West? Indian dancing for white big-city audiences late in the 19th Century. The theatrical costumes are not authentic and they?ve grown more elaborate and colorful over the years. Now the costumes are strictly modern and highly exaggerated.

 

Big-city audiences love this stuff.

 

Here are some of Buffalo Bill?s dancers from 1894, but even then, some of the stuff they are wearing are European-American trade goods, such as the hairpipe-bead breastplates:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yBuHO3dO6Y

 

A good modern fake-eagle-feather headdress with double trailers will set you back nearly $3,000:

http://www.nativeartstrading.com/Headdresses.htm

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> {quote:title=mr6666 wrote:}{quote}

> Okay, but aside from all your negative comments, was the series a good idea and/or successful in your opinion, or not?

 

Yes! I got to see a lot of films I've never seen before.

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*His comments are rarely informative or enlightening about the film - but instead they seem to be part of his own personal agenda...Please, TCM, screen your "experts" a bit better. I don't mind learning something - but I hate being lectured to like I don't know ANYTHING.* - Holly

 

Unless you've walked in someone's shoes, don't criticize their "agenda". 1/16 Cherokee does not qualify, nor does studying the topic. My dad was sooooo glad to leave Oklahoma to join the military, and he only went back to visit family. He didn't want his kids to face the same treatment as he did, so I'm listed as Caucasian even though my 1/4 Kiowa ancestry would qualify for tribal membership.

 

Professor Geiogamah came along fifteen years later than my dad, but it was still one crappy place to grow up unless you were white. And trust me, it still ain't perfect. I haven't found him to be condescending at all, nor do I see any agenda whatsoever. I think he's pretty well balanced. Thanks, TCM.

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