Dances with Wolves is a 1990 Western epic that tells the story of John Dunbar (Kevin Costner), an American soldier who befriends and integrates into a Native American tribe, eventually becoming one of them. The film was praised for its portrayal of Native Americans and won several awards, including seven Oscars. However, there has been ongoing debate over whether or not Dances with Wolves is problematic in its depiction of Native Americans.

On the surface, Dances with Wolves seems to offer an authentic portrayal of indigenous people. The film’s makers enlisted Lakota Sioux advisors who taught the cast about their culture and performed many parts in the movie themselves. Additionally, the story depicts Dunbar learning not only about these natives’ customs but also developing close relationships with them through both communication (including receiving his native name) and adoption by certain tribeswomen as a sort-of surrogate family.

However, critics argue that while this might have been accurate on some level—the filmmakers did spend time researching Native American history—there are still significant issues with how it ultimately presents them on camera.

The first problem lies in Costner’s casting as John Dunbar himself. While he underwent Lakota language lessons under Rodney A Grant—or Wind In His Hair to fans—as well as horse skills training from members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe to get ready for his role; Kevin Costner — like most white actors — does take up much screen-time entitled to expand upon his character’s journeys than would any true community member’s perspective or input!

That being brought up already reflects a general sense as if “white outsiders,” hold more narrative power throughout production without consensual permission or critique points from those included in portraying characters fully entwined within tribal communities – instead viewers are exposed mostly to Western/colonizer ideology perspectives rather than full authenticity.

Another argument against Dances With Wolves stems from how little attention is given to local Indigenous people when compared explicitly with Europeans, settlers in particular. Indigenous tribes offer the audience information about not only cultural practices and beliefs but also reveal societal experiences that were common among themselves before settlers – often painted aggressively by colonial perspectives under Manifest Destiny umbrella. Ignoring this micro perspective and only focusing on a personal journey of self-discovery for the Dunbar character hardly depicts history accurately – especially when thinking it may be one moviegoers’ sole source of knowledge.

Underlying this issue is also performing indigenous culture as “exotic” or something to be commodified, making them into merely more characters within the Western template rather than exploring actual Native American life stories/religious beliefs! When developed without considering how these cultures operate from experience or acknowledgement shows little respect towards tribal customs or struggles against colonization.

A final critique voiced over Dances With Wolves centers around blood quantum — lending authenticity via a required minimum percentage of ethnicity demanded from tribal members to prove their identities authentically enough so they can take away significant government-funded healthcare benefits solely applicable through Native heritage markers (four bands nowadays). These marks already create false dichotomies between Indigenous peers based on skin color restrictions promoted historically under colonizing control starting at first contact times.

So taking all these critiques into account, where does that leave us? Was Dances with Wolves ultimately problematic? The answer isn’t straight forward and speaks more directly towards discussions held around other historic films made in collaboration with BIPOC instead of cinema altogether. What viewers must reckon is whether a feature film like this could properly depict an entire ethnic group while being created by outsiders, even if those creators had done extensive research beforehand?

Dances with Wolves proved itself groundbreaking effectively within Hollywood simply because Hollywood’s history largely lacks such empathetic portrayals; an increase in various native languages incorporated throughout production set up immersion aspects currently overlooked still today! It’s essential to note that appreciating what did go well doesn’t mean ignoring flaws present – these aspects only add to the conversation, not detract from them. Dances with Wolves opened discussions about how people can utilize historically based narratives for mutual healing purposes over colonizers’ standard ones featuring solely a singular point of Western perspective!
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 Western epic that tells the story of John Dunbar, an American soldier who befriends and integrates into a Native American tribe, eventually becoming one of them. The film received widespread praise for its portrayal of Native Americans, and won several awards, including seven Oscars. However, there have been ongoing debates over whether or not it is problematic in its depiction of Native Americans.

On the surface level, Dances with Wolves seems to offer an authentic portrayal of indigenous people. The filmmakers enlisted Lakota Sioux advisors who taught the cast about their culture and also performed many parts in the movie themselves. Additionally, the story depicts Dunbar learning about these natives’ customs and developing close relationships with them through communication (including receiving his native name) and adoption by certain tribeswomen as a sort-of surrogate family.

However, critics argue that while this might have been partially accurate on some level—the filmmakers did spend time researching Native American history—there are still significant issues with how it ultimately presents them on camera.

The first problem lies in Kevin Costner’s casting as John Dunbar himself. While he underwent Lakota language lessons under Rodney A Grant—or Wind In His Hair to fans—as well as horse skills training from members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe to get ready for his role; Kevin Costner — like most white actors — does take up much screen-time entitled to expand upon his character’s journeys than would any true community member’s perspective or input!

This highlights a general sense where “white outsiders” hold more narrative power throughout production without consensual permission or critique points from those included in portraying characters fully entwined within tribal communities – instead viewers are exposed mostly to Western/colonizer ideology perspectives rather than full authenticity.

Another argument against Dances With Wolves stems from how little attention is given to local Indigenous people when compared explicitly with Europeans, settlers specifically tended towards prevalent portrayals focused on the colonizer’s journey, ignoring or dismissing Native American history and experiences and societal interactions that were common among themselves before involving settlers. This perspective paints an inaccurate view for those who view Dunbar as a sole source of knowledge.

Underlying this issue is also performing indigenous culture as “exotic” or something to be commodified rather than exploring actual Native American life stories/religious beliefs! The failure to properly consider how these cultures operate from experience or acknowledgement shows little respect towards tribal customs – important elements to deliver against struggles against colonization successfully.

Another critique voiced over Dances With Wolves stems from blood quantum, with Indigenous people often regarded under institutionalized micromanagement. Lending authenticity via a required minimum percentage demanded from tribal members to prove their identities authentically enough so they can take away significant government-funded healthcare benefits solely applicable through Native heritage markers (four bands nowadays) creates false dichotomies between Indigenous peers based on skin color restrictions promoted historically under colonizing control starting at first contact times.

So taking all these critiques into account, where does that leave us? Was Dances with Wolves ultimately problematic? The answer isn’t straightforward but speaks more directly towards discussions held around other historic movies made in collaboration with BIPOC instead of cinema altogether. What viewers must reckon is whether a feature film like this could faithfully depict an entire ethnic group while being created by outsiders, even if those creators had done extensive research beforehand?

Dances with Wolves broke new ground within Hollywood simply because it was one of few items produced shown empathy back toward marginalized groups whose voices have been limited significantly throughout cinematic history; the increase in various native languages incorporated throughout production set up immersion aspects currently overlooked still today! It’s essential to note that appreciating what did go well doesn’t mean ignoring flaws present – these aspects only add to the conversation, not detract from them. Dances with Wolves opened discussions about how we can use historically based narratives for mutual healing purposes over colonizers’ standard ones featuring solely an angled perspective rather than authentic depictions.

In conclusion, Dances with Wolves can be viewed as a historic+ cinematic experience that offered Hollywood films to consider marginalized or minority communities and their interests. However, its portrayal of Native Americans is subject to critique and debate. These issues must be handled with empathy and sensitivity in film production going forwards. Ultimately, it’s crucial that we continue the conversations this film reignited about the importance of telling stories that offer equal representation for all persons within creative mediums while simultaneously committing to sharing experiences authentically – not just regurgitating or crafting idealized portrayals from those who’ve carried out colonialism against said groups from the start!