History Of American Indians In The West

The West tells stories of the Indians and their harmful meetings with Europeans. The viewers hear the voices and listen to the visions of notable Indian leaders. Sitting Bull and Chief Joseph are mostly highlighted. The film does not simplify the struggles of the Indians or be-little their existence before the conquest of Europeans. In setting up Sitting Bull's struggle to keep the Black Hills, The West describes the Lakotas's own history of conquest on the northern Plains. Lakotas discusses the success of their people in war against other Indian tribes on the northern Plains. Depiction of intertribal and intertribal conflicts adds a welcome complexity to what has too often been depicted as a mere two-sided struggle for control of the West.

The West does not end with Sitting Bull's murder and the suppression of Lakota Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee. The West emotionally tracks the struggles of Native Americans beyond the final carnage. In the end, the film introduces us to Buffalo Bird Woman and her brother Wolf Chief. The former rejected all efforts of the white Europeans to reform her ways. Others adjusted to the system preached by American officials, converted at to Christianity, and worked with presidents in hopes of improving conditions on his reservation.

In this historic account, Chief Joseph gets the last word before his death in 1904, his pledge to 'fight no more forever'. This mixes Buffalo Bird Woman's conservatism and Wolf Chief's realism, Chief Joseph saw that his people would have to find new ways to survive in a new world, but maintain compliance to old beliefs and practices. His greatest wish before his death was to return to the lands of his Nez Perce ancestors. In the film he asked a white friend to give him a horse so he could travel to his final destination. Unfortunately, the request was misunderstood, the horse was not given, and Joseph died without making it to his final destination. But in Chief Joseph's story, Sitting Bull, Buffalo Bird Woman, Wolf Chief, and the other Indians featured in the film, it shows the great resilience and persistence of the Native Americans.

The West, however, is not about happy endings unfortunately. It discusses the many challenges and trials faced. I personally enjoyed the stories told and the encounters. I find the times back then to be more interesting and in-depth compared to stories told today. I learned a lot from these encounters and seeing the struggle and harm done to the Native Americans from the Europeans. Today that would be unacceptable, it would instantly start a war, but it did not back then because the Europeans knew the Indians could not fight back.

16 August 2021
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