Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory

Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory

Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory

Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory

Synopsis

The film industry and mainstream popular culture are notorious for promoting stereotypical images of Native Americans: the noble and ignoble savage, the pronoun-challenged sidekick, the ruthless warrior, the female drudge, the princess, the sexualized maiden, the drunk, and others. Over the years, Indigenous filmmakers have both challenged these representations and moved past them, offering their own distinct forms of cinematic expression. Native Americans on Film draws inspiration from the Indigenous film movement, bringing filmmakers into an intertextual conversation with academics from a variety of disciplines. The resulting dialogue opens a myriad of possibilities for engaging students with ongoing debates: What is Indigenous film? Who is an Indigenous filmmaker? What are Native filmmakers saying about Indigenous film and their own work? This thought-provoking text offers theoretical approaches to understanding Native cinema, includes pedagogical strategies for teaching particular films, and validates the different voices, approaches, and worldviews that emerge across the movement.

Excerpt

In the spirit of conversations and relationships, the nurturing heart of Native Americans on Film, we introduce ourselves to you and extend an invitation to participate in the growing network of people interested and invested in the burgeoning field of Indigenous film. Our friendship and respect for each other’s ideas, approaches to scholarship and teaching, and philosophy of life have flourished over the years that we have been colleagues. Native Americans on Film is an expression of this relationship and the ones we share with the extended family of educators, scholars, filmmakers, and artists we have come to know through the process of creating this collaboration of voices. It also mirrors the philosophical and theoretical approach we take in American Indian studies, which is interdisciplinary and Native centered, foregrounding Indigenous ways of knowing, teaching, and telling.

Native Americans on Film developed out of a commitment to providing our students with Native representation in our academic offerings. Over the years we listened to our students’ and our own voices calling for more Native-centered material that talks about the representation of Native Americans in Hollywood and mainstream media, and about the rapidly expanding, multifaceted Indigenous film movement. Finding the material to provide a Native-centered approach for a variety of courses has sometimes been very challenging. Wonderful works are in circulation today, many of which we use, but often a suitable piece is merely a fraction of another work, such as an essay within a large edition not necessarily related to what we are teaching. Complicating the process, much of the available printed material adheres to methods of analysis that privilege Western genres, aesthetics, and ways of teaching film. While these methodologies possess great value and provide useful tools, they often fail to capture the innovations many Native films employ in merging aesthetics and reformulating genres. We thus imagined a single text that offers theoretical approaches to understanding Native film, includes pedagogical strategies for teaching particular films, and validates the different voices, approaches, and worldviews that emerge across the Indigenous film movement. We imagined Native Americans on Film.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.