Understanding Native Americans in the Film, Dances with Wolves
To dance with someone is to become one with him. When you dance, you lay selves aside and you try to move as one person. Every step flows cautiously into the next. You never want to step on the toes of the other person and with your hands you guide each other in various directions, but always together. The dance is a journey; one that brings two often very different people together. For that brief time that the two are dancing they act as one person, laying all differences aside.
The film, Dances with wolves, accomplishes this feat. For one hundred and eighty-one minutes it allows us to get caught up in the dance of the ...view middle of the document...
This determination is also reflected in the dance of today. With the determination of Dunbar, many will try multiple times to engage their partner in "the dance" before they are successful.
Finally, Dunbar was able to engage in conversation with the Indians, and with a fair amount of caution from both sides they became friends. This stage of friendship slowly chipped away at the stereotype of the Indians. We saw them as generous people. In one instance they gave Dunbar an animal rug as a gift. We saw them as a kind people who had taken an American child in after her parents had been murdered. Finally, we saw them as a people who respected nature. They exemplified the old principle "never take more than you give."
The Indians respected people and animals. They only took enough buffalo to feed their families. We saw a huge contrast between the American hunters, who killed buffalo just for their hides and tongues, and the Indians who would only kill when necessary.
For Dunbar, the stage of friendship was not enough, and he longed to truly "dance with the Indians." As the film unfolded, he more than accomplished this task; and through his accomplishment he proved how wrong our stereotypes of the Indians were.
We saw Dunbar trudging through the grass and dirt looking for buffalo with the Indians. We saw him trying to learn the Indian language, and we even saw him marrying into the "Indian family." Through each of these incidents he was becoming involved in the "dance of the Indian." He began to eat, sleep, and think like the Indians.
One of the most climactic moments of the film was when we saw Dunbar helping the Indians fight a rival tribe. The Indians were fighting to save their women and children; Dunbar sees these same people regardless of their race and culture as his own women and children.
Dunbar gave many parts of himself to the Indians as. He gave them material things like his hat and weapons, but he also taught them how to make coffee and how to speak his language. He brought his heart and soul and was willing to sacrifice for his Indian brothers.
The "dance" between Dunbar and the Indians was tested in many ways. The American soldiers tried to "cut-in" on the dance. They wanted to sever the bond that Dunbar had with the Indians, but they were too late. Dunbar had already become one with the Indians. He had already allowed the Indian way of life to infiltrate in to every part of him, including his soul. It was in this powerful...