Boyer Michelle AIS160 FilmPresentation .pdf

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Literary Representations of American
Indian Environments: Literature,
Film, and Popular Culture
Michelle Nicole Boyer-Kelly
American Indian Studies Dept.

Who am I?
—  Received my Bachelor’s Degree from the University
of Arizona in: English Literature, Creative Writing,
with minors in American Indian Studies and
Alexandrine History
—  Received my Master’s degree from the University of
Arizona in: American Indian Literature and Film
—  My thesis was on: Representations of Birthing and
Motherhood in Indigenous Literature

Why Research Lit & Film?
—  The obvious answer: I love it.
—  The scholarly answer: Literature and film is a
medium that is widely viewed by a mainstream
audience, therefore, the average American will get
their information about American Indians from
—  A film they watched
—  A book they read
—  A combination of movies and books

Today’s Objectives
—  1) Students will receive a brief introduction to three
cinematic eras of film
—  The Early Western Era
—  The Revisionist Western Era
—  Contemporary AI Film

—  Students will be able to understand how the
landscape and environment plays into each
cinematic era
—  Students will connect film clips and lecture material
back to the assigned reading this week

Hollywood’s Indian
Edited by Peter C. Rolling and John E. O’Connor

The Early Western Era

Who Is John Ford?
—  American film director
—  b. 1894 and d. 1973
—  Made over 140 films in his career
—  Famous films include
—  Stagecoach (1939)
—  The Searchers (1956)
—  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Western Era Film
—  Problems with John Ford films include:
—  Representations of American Indians

Often played by White or Mexican actors/actresses
“Pan-Indian” identity
Always a “negative” representation
Language usage: Savages, Apaches, scalpers, etc.
Issues of anti-women/gender issues
Typically, Indians always die (and in large numbers)
Historically incorrect

—  Indians often grunt, say “How,” bad English, etc.

—  Up next, we’re going to watch the
opening sequence of the John Ford film
The Searchers

How is the environment depicted?
What do these settlers fear?
How is fear paralleled in the landscape?
What do these images of American
Indians portray – and even more
important, how would audiences during
this period view American Indians if
this film was their only knowledge of
American Indians?

Up Next:
The Searchers

—  Focus on the following questions:

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