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ERIC Number: EJ787740
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
The Heart of Lightness: Hollywood's Wild West Show Revisited
Lopez, Delano Jose
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v27 n2 p17-39 2003
The last three decades of the 20th century have seen a resurgence of films with Native American themes. In addition to a growth in the number of such films, there has been a qualitative difference: the new generation of films has attempted to counteract previous stereotypes, to accurately portray the history and culture of Native groups, and to be sympathetic to the political claims of Native Americans. Many of these "sympathetic" or "progressive" Indian films depict Indian culture primarily through the experience of a white (and usually male) protagonist. The white mediator fills a range of functions, which progress chronologically as the concerns of the larger white American society shift. In this article, the author reviews how films in previous eras about Native Americans have expressed white concerns. He contends that these new "sympathetic" films, for all of their appearance of being anti-progress, are in fact pro-progress. However, the progress that they celebrate is not that of the 18th- and 19th-century European Americans "opening up the wilderness to civilization." Instead these films are intended to celebrate (for all their morbidity in some cases) the moral progress and cultural sensitivity of late 20th-century Americans. (Contains 44 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A