For over 100 years, Hollywood cinema has created the perfect “villain,” the Native American, as it was called from the early days of Westerns, a genre in which they were exclusively confined. This portrayal became a stereotype and embodied American racism, obscuring the genocide upon which the United States was built. For more than four decades, Westerns glorified the “Manifest Destiny,” the conquest of so-called “wild” lands, regardless of who inhabited them. It wasn’t until the Vietnam War and the protest movements of the 1960s and 70s that a new kind of Western emerged, where Native Americans finally took on a human, real face, and the horrible massacres they endured were finally depicted on screen. “Little Big Man” and “Soldier Blue” were among the revolutionary films of that time in their treatment of “Indians and cowboys.”
In this documentary, only Native Americans have a voice to tell us their story, which intersects with the larger American narrative that cinema has wielded as such an effective propaganda tool.