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Essay Undoing Stereotypes in the Movie, Dances With Wolves

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Undoing Stereotypes in the Movie, Dances With Wolves

Hollywood has helped create and perpetuate many different stereotypical images of the different races in the world. Those stereotypes still continue to affect the way we think about each other today and many of those stereotypes have been proven to be historically inaccurate. The movie Dances With Wolves, directed by actor Kevin Costner, does an excellent job in attempting to promote a greater acceptance, understanding, and sympathy towards Native American culture, instead of supporting the typical stereotype of Native Americans being nothing but brutal, blood thirsty savages.

The film Dances With Wolves focuses mainly on one man named Jon Dunbar and his growing relationship
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He was first shot with about four or five arrows until he was hanging on to life by a thread and then they scalped him. You then see the Pawnee Indians carrying off their new "trophy", which was a piece of Timmons' head. Another scene was when the camera first introduced the Indians into the movie by focusing in on a human skeleton that had an arrow stuck in the abdomen. Through scenes such as these, we are given an impression that the stereotypes about Indians being savages were indeed true. These ideas are changed as the movie begins to take a 180-degree turn and begins to focus on helping the viewer understand what the Indians were really all about.

The Lakota tribe was very humane and had fairly strong familial bonds. It wasn't easy to be accepted by their tribe at first but once you were accepted then you were considered to be one of the family. In the film, Jon Dunbar tries to make friends with the Lakota Indians but is unsuccessful at first. Being a very persistent and kind hearted man he slowly gains the acceptance of the tribe. The first witness of this is when some tribesmen pay a visit to Jon Dunbar's soldier's fort. To welcome them and to show them that he wanted to get to know them, he introduces them to coffee and sugar and even lets the tribe take some home. In return, an Indian named Kicking Bird, gives Jon some buffalo hides as a gift. This exchange of gifts showed that the Indians did have a sense of manners and trust. Also the
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