Indigenous People React To Indigenous Representation In Film And TV (Pocahontas, The Lone Ranger)
– (Chief) Teach ’em,
pale face brother all about red man.
– (John) Good, this should be most enlightening.
– Ugh, interesting. Unfortunate. – (Michael) Why does he
ask you, “How?” – This used to be
my favorite movie. – (Chief) Why does he
ask you, “How?” – I remember this. ♪ Why does he ask you
How? ♪ – I see more Caucasians say this
than natives. ♪ Once the Injun didn’t know ♪
– The Injun. ♪ But the Injun,
he sure learn a lot ♪ – Don’t remember this
in Peter Pan at all. – So, when you’re a kid,
you don’t know what you’re looking at. – Oh, it’s so racist. – Like, that’s [bleep] up. – (FBE) So while many do
love this film, there are also many that
feel that the portrayal of in the indigenous people
in this film is pretty offensive. – Absolutely.
I mean, for one thing, it doesn’t have anything
about their nation or about who they are. – Redskins is just–
it’s such a derogatory term and then they made
the native peoples in this movie have actual
bold red skin. – The Searchers,
I don’t know– I don’t know if I ever
saw this movie. – And I’m guessing he’s
a white man. – This is a John Wayne movie. – (sighs) – Savages will be slaughtered,
I am sure. I haven’t even seen this,
but they generally are. – Always portrayed as the villain
and not as somebody who’s trying to protect
the land, their way of life and fighting off invaders
who did horrific things to them, but John Wayne’s the hero. – (FBE) So, western movies
were some of the first representations of Indigenous
Americans in entertainment, but they were often used
as the antagonists. – Yes.
– (FBE) So, what are your personal thoughts on
western films? – I personally don’t watch
too many western films just because how many
times can you see people of your ethnicity
that they’re representing be killed, slaughtered? – The thing that’s always
missing here is that Indians were trying
to save themselves from complete annihilation.
Of course they were gonna fight. – I did like this film
because I was born in Colorado, so cowboys,
horses, that was us. We had horses.
We didn’t really think about the social implication
about it. – My did has always loved
the western films despite being Native American
because during the time that these are made,
this is the way people thought and I kinda think it’s stupid for–
To Kill a Mockingbird was banned from schools
because of the use of the n-word in it,
which I think is offensive and is awful, but it’s also
history and I think you should not ignore history
because then you don’t learn. – Keep America Beautiful. – (narrator) They held it
in simple reverence. – Ah, Iron Eyes Cody. – Iron Eyes Cody is
actually Sicilian. – (narrator) All around us
are reminders of how far we still have to go.
– The crying Indian. – It’s the one where
he tears up. – What is that, litter?
Is that a road? – (narrator) 99 Park Avenue,
New York, New York. – I got chills from that. – A different perspective
of Native Americans being the caretakers
of the Earth and pushing us to actually
try to take care of our planet. – (FBE) So, this is part
of a PSA starring Iron Eyes Cody. – Who’s an actor. – (FBE) So, Cody was not
Native American. – That man wasn’t
Native American? – (FBE) Yet he claimed
he was of Native descent even though his parents
were from Sicily. He somewhat acted as
a cultural ambassador for Native Americans
and he tried and sought out to correct common misconceptions
about Native Americans whom he claimed to be
his people. – How interesting. – There were a lot of people
that left their civilized life to live with the Indians
and even white men. Everybody loved them,
actually. – Every culture should be
appreciated to an extent as long as you appreciate
the right reasons for the culture and what they do.
You can appropriate the image of the Native
culture as long as you’re telling a story that’s
the true story of it. – He probably was appreciating
the culture in itself, which I do–
that is very nice and genuine,
I think he really was. I just wish they actually
used a Native American person. – Pocahontas. – I had a big crush
on Pocahontas. – First of all,
she was a child. – No. – (Pocahontas) If you kill him,
you’ll have to kill me, too. – (Chief) Daughter, stand back.
– (Pocahontas) I won’t. I love him, father.
– Disney. – (Pocahontas) Look around you.
This is where the path of hatred has brought us.
– She should be saying that to John Smith,
not her father. – (Pocahontas) This is the path
I choose, father. What will yours be?
– Very intense. I feel like as a child,
you’re rooting for Pocahontas and John and then from
this perspective, you’re like, I know how
this story really ends. – That scene is really important.
It really erases the violence of conquest, right?
Because if the Native woman is heterosexual and falls
in love with the settlers and makes it seem like
we invited conquest to come to our land,
that we wanted this. – Even though it’s pretty much
incorrect of her life, I do kind of appreciate
them trying to at least make it be more of
a gentle message. – (FBE) Many claim that
Disney kind of distorted the story of Pocahontas,
focusing on her relationship with a man and kind of
placing that above all else. – Yeah, making it a love story. – (FBE) The real Pocahontas
was actually around 11 years old and she was actually captured
by the colonists while trying to help the settlers
and she later was even brought back to England
as proof that it was possible to civilize a quote,
“savage” end-quote. – Damn it, I’m not gonna
get emotional. It’s not happening because
I’m actually very angry. It’s just another form
of whitewashing. – What’s so crazy about
that whole thing is literally the English
were the savage– they were the savages
coming to someone else’s territory. – (Victor) You know, Thomas. – This looks like a–
okay. – I just recently watched this
for a second time. – (Victor) I don’t know what
you’re talking about half the time. – (Thomas) I don’t know.
– (Victor) I mean, you just go on and on talking
about nothing. – Sherman Alexie movie. – (Victor) You’re always trying
to sound like some damn medicine man or something.
How many times have you seen Dances with Wolves?
100, 200? – Dances with Wolves
is a hard to watch. – (Victor) You have seen it
that many times, haven’t you? Don’t you even know how
to be a real Indian? – (Thomas) I guess not.
– I think he has the wrong idea of what
an Indian should be. – (Victor) First of all,
quit grinning like an idiot. Indians ain’t supposed
to smile like that. Get stoic.
– As I’m smiling. – I feel like I’m grinning
like an idiot, too. – (Victor) No, like this. – I guess.
If you call that stoic. – (Victor) You gotta look mean
or people won’t respect you. – I mean, that’s more real
in the fact that they’re wearing regular clothes. – That movie was so important
to me when it came out because it was the first time
I’d seen anybody like me represented in film. – I wish there was more
contemporary films on Native Americans,
I truly do. This was a really good movie
and actually, the main actress in this movie
was the voice of Pocahontas. – (FBE) So, this was a clip
from the film Smoke Signals, which was the first feature
length film that was written, directed, and starred
Native American actors. – I did not know that, though.
That’s representation when people of color
or indigenous people are behind the camera. – (FBE) So at the time,
many hoped that this would pave the way for
more Indigenous storytellers in Hollywood, so why do you think
it’s been so difficult for this culture to make its way
into Hollywood? – I’ve noticed that a common
thing for modern Native Americans is that
it’s hard to get out of the reservation.
I feel like it’s bad, ’cause they’re set back
to begin with. – Network heads will meet
with people who they know or people who they know
who know other people and usually, those are
all white people. The people who are in power
really have to make an effort to open up that door. – (Lone Ranger) What is it?
– Modern. – Oh God.
This was not a good movie. – And the Indian is
Johnny Depp, right? – Don’t believe Johnny
is Native at all. – (Lone Ranger) We’re lost,
aren’t we? I knew it.
Just follow the horse. That was your idea?
– And Tonto had a very unappropriate name,
unfortunately. Tonto means dumb–
dumb person, I believe. – (Lone Ranger) Hello.
If you could just point us in the right direction,
we’ll take it from here. – I liked this movie
’cause it was freaky. – Was that supposed to be funny? – It’s a modern representation
that’s not exactly a positive thing,
but at the same time, it’s a character. – (FBE) There were many people
that were upset that a prominent Native American
character like Tonto was not played by somebody
who identified as Native American.
– Yeah. – It’s this weird [bleep]
brawl of bringing people to the forefront,
but at the same time, making money, but at the same time,
doing the character justice. – (FBE) So, what are your
thoughts on when films and shows cast actors
to portray a race that they’re not really related to?
– I wish they’d just give them a chance.
Stop having somebody else pretend they are something else. – I don’t think too much about it
mainly because too much of other people doing
other races because that’s what acting is.
I don’t think that’s wrong because that’s make-believe. – Some Native people
who are playwrights or whatever talk about how there aren’t enough
Native actors, so they write plays that
are for white people. I don’t want us to give up
on ourselves. I want us to really believe
that someday, this can happen. – (FBE) So as you know,
the entire cast of this episode are either Native American
or Indigenous American including myself.
– Yes, yes. That makes me so
incredibly happy. – (FBE) And we wanted
to talk about the representation of Native Americans throughout
the years in film and television. – Cool. – (FBE) So as you’ve seen,
there have been some authentic and some not authentic
Indigenous representation in media, but there often isn’t much
representation of indigenous people at all,
with many issues as well as amazing stories about
the cultures often getting lost or just unseen.
So for you personally, what does being Indigenous
mean to you? – I think I’m still trying
to figure that out. It means loving myself
and my culture and not living up to
any kind of European standards of beauty. – It’s definitely in my DNA,
but because it was lost, I just don’t–
I wish I was more connected. There’s just a lack
of information within my own family. – I’ve been to a traditional
pow-wow. My dad was showing me,
this is where our family comes from is this kind of thing.
It’s a heritage thing for me. – It’s affected the way
I think of myself. I didn’t speak English
until I was six years old. I could hear people say,
“Speak English. You’re in America.”
But I was born here. My father was born here. – It’s hard, right, because
what you also see around you is all the loss,
all the things that we don’t have anymore.
We’re a beautiful people who have not been defeated
even though there’s been 500 years of conquest
on this continent. – (FBE) So, Indigenous Peoples’
Day was originally called Columbus Day and first
became a federal holiday in 1937.
However, in 1992, Berkeley, California
replaced the holiday with Indigenous Peoples’ Day
since many said Columbus did not discover America,
but rather began the colonization of it.
– Yeah, it’s like if I drove to your house and was like,
“I found this.” and then I did horrible
things to you. – (FBE) At least eight states
and 130 cities and towns have replaced this holiday,
but as great of a step as this is, there are still many states
that haven’t adopted the new name for this holiday.
What does changing the name of this holiday
mean to you? – I think it should be
exactly what it is. It’s important that people
understand what Columbus Day actually stands for. – ‘Cause where Columbus did not
discover America, I would think–
you would think that’s common knowledge at this point.
I think changing it to Indigenous Peoples’ Day,
I don’t see anything wrong with that. – A lot of states are slow
to adopt new things because of tradition.
The name change is sweeping it under the rug and doesn’t
deal with the issue, but it’s a step forward. – I don’t want it to just
be symbolic. I want it to be material.
It can’t just go nicely to Indigenous People Day
without a lot of education. – (FBE) Finally, there are many
Indigenous people around the world from
different regions and many feel underrepresented
and would love for their stories to be heard more,
so what strides do you hope to see in the representation
of indigenous people across the world moving forward?
– I don’t know if this is a good answer,
but I really feel like YouTube and other forms
of online media are going to be very
effective. – It’s nice that they do
have one or two people who are actually in
the political spectrum and nice to get more people,
but it would be nice to see even more. – This is a good start.
I just send so much love out to all the indigenous
people. I feel it.
I feel your pain. I feel it.
I feel it. I know what it’s like
to feel disenfranchised and marginalized.
I’m still trying to find my roots and they’re so hard
to be discovered because they were ripped out
of the ground. – Hey everyone, Lauren,
producer here at FBE. Thank you so much for
watching this episode. As somebody who’s part
of the Tohono O’odham and Apache tribes,
this video was such an honor for me to make
and shed a little bit of light about the representation
of Native Americans in entertainment and media.
I also wanted to thank all the reactors who came in
today and shared their personal stories.
We do know that there are indigenous cultures
all over the world that are underrepresented,
so we wanna know their stories as well,
so if you have any, let us know in the comments
down below. Bye, everyone and have
a happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day.