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Suspicion and hostility, stemming from technological and cultural differences as well as mutual feelings of superiority, have permeated relations betweenNative Americanand non-Indians in North America. Most of the Indians east of the Mississippi River now perceived the colonial pioneers as a greater threat than the British government. In the Midwest, George Rogers Clark captured strategic Vincennes for the Americans, but British agents based at Detroit continued to sponsor Tory and Indian forays as far south as Kentucky. By setting the boundaries of the newly recognized United States at the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, that treaty virtually ensured future conflicts between whites and resident tribes. Indian raids, often encouraged by the British, were influential in causing the United States to declare war on Great Britain in 1812. In the United States, the removal policy met only sporadic armed resistance as whites pushed into the Mississippi River valley during the 1830s and 1840s.
On the Pacific Coast, attacks against the native peoples accompanied the flood of immigrants to gold-laden California.
The Civil War saw the removal of the Regulars and an accompanying increase in the number and intensity of white-Indian conflicts. Regular units, including four regiments of black troops, returned west following the Confederate collapse.
To the north, the Sioux, Northern Cheyennes, and Arapahos had forced the army to abandon its Bozeman Trail forts in Red Cloud’s War (1867). To the far southwest, Cochise, Victorio, and Geronimo led various Apache bands in resisting white and Hispanic encroachments, crossing and recrossing the border into Mexico with seeming impunity.
Throughout the centuries of conflict, both sides had taken the wars to the enemy populace, and the conflicts had exacted a heavy toll among noncombatants. If you completed your subscription and still have not received an email, please contact us. Smoke Signals The story centers on Victor Joseph (Adam Beach) and Thomas Builds-the-Fire (Evan Adams) on the Coeur D’Alene Indian Reservation in Plummer, Idaho.
Whale Rider is a 2002 drama film directed by Niki Caro, based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera. Buddy Red Bow (Martinez), a quick-tempered activist, is battling greedy developers who send fast-talking, slick Sandy Youngblood to the reservation to try to persuade the council to vote in favor of a strip-mining contract. This web site is attempting to list, review and create some discussion about the best movies ever made about American Indians in the pre-assimilation era. Intertribal antagonisms among the Indians, and nationalistic rivalries, bad faith, and expansionist desires on the part of non-Indians exacerbated these tensions. In Virginia and the Carolinas, English-speaking colonists pushed aside the Tuscaroras, the Yamasees, and the Cherokees. Thus northern tribes, especially those influenced by Mohawk chief Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant), generally sided with the Crown during the American War for Independence.
The Americans resumed the initiative in 1782, when Clark marched northwest into Shawnee and Delaware country, ransacking villages and inflicting several stinging defeats upon the Indians.
In 1790, Miami chief Little Turtle routed several hundred men led by Josiah Harmar along the Maumee River. The British made Tecumseh a brigadier general and used Indian allies to help recapture Detroit and Fort Dearborn (Chicago). The Sac and Fox Indians were crushed in Black Hawk’s War (1831-1832), and tribes throughout the region seemed powerless in the face of the growing numbers of forts and military roads the whites were constructing. Disease, malnutrition, and warfare combined with the poor lands set aside as reservations to reduce the Indian population of that state from 150,000 in 1845 to 35,000 in 1860. The influence of the Five Southern, or “Civilized” Tribes of the Indian Territory was sharply reduced. Railroad expansion, new mining ventures, the destruction of the buffalo, and ever-increasing white demand for land exacerbated the centuries-old tensions. Hancock’s ineffectual campaign in 1867 merely highlighted the bitterness between whites and Indians on the southern plains. But arable lands and rumors of gold in the Dakotas continued to attract white migration; the government opened a major new war in 1876. In 1867-1868, George Crook defeated the Paiutes of northern California and southern Oregon. Yet, with the exception of another clash in 1973 during which protesters temporarily seized control of Wounded Knee, the major Indian-white conflicts in the United States had ended. Whites had been particularly effective in exploiting tribal rivalries; indeed, Indian scouts and auxiliaries were often essential in defeating tribes deemed hostile by white governments. Thomas is an eccentric tribe storyteller and Victor is an angry, brooding local basketball star.
The film stars Keisha Castle-Hughes as Kahu Paikea Apirana, a 12-year-old girl struggling to become the chief of the tribe.


What one person considers the best movie ever made, someone else may consider one of the worst. The resulting white-Indian conflicts often took a particularly brutal turn and ultimately resulted in the near-de-struction of the indigenous peoples. Frustrated at the continuing conflicts, Nathaniel Bacon and a group of vigilantes destroyed the Pamunkey Indians before leading an unsuccessful revolt against colonial authorities in 1676. The Natchez, Chick asaw, and Fox Indians resisted French domination, and the Apaches and Comanches fought against Spanish expansion into Texas.
In 1777, they joined the Tories and the British in the unsuccessful offensives of John Burgoyne and Barry St. To the south, the British backed resistance among the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Choctaws but quickly forgot their former allies following the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783).
Several hundred American prisoners were killed following a skirmish at the River Raisin in early 1813. The Aleuts were defeated during the eighteenth century, but the Russians found it impossible to prevent Tlingit harassment of their hunting parties and trading posts. The acquisition of Texas and the Southwest during the 1840s, however, sparked a new series of Indian-white conflicts.
The army took the lead role in Oregon and Washington, using the Rogue River (1855-1856), Yakima (1855-1856), and Spokane (1858) wars to force several tribes onto reservations. The mounted warriors of the Great Plains posed an especially thorny problem for an army plagued by a chronic shortage of cavalry and a government policy that demanded Indian removal on the cheap. Using a series of converging columns, Philip Sheridan achieved more success in his winter campaigns of 1868-1869, but only with the Red River War of 1874-1875 were the tribes broken. Initial failures against a loose Indian coalition, forged by leaders including Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, culminated in the annihilation of five troops of Custer’s cavalry at the Little Bighorn.
In a desperate effort to secure a new reservation on the tribal homelands, a Modoc chief assassinated Edward R. Only after lengthy campaigning, during which army columns frequently entered Mexico, were the Apaches forced to surrender in the mid-1880s. Hopefully, all the movies included in this list will have some redeeming values in viewing native Americans, and the views prevalent towards them in the times the movies were made.
I think a case can be made for several movie representations of Native Americans, who can be viewed as patriots, fighting against an alien invading force. Some people consider The Searchers to have one of the most negative portrayals ever of Native Americans, while others consider it to be one of the most positive. In 1763, an Ottawa chief, Pontiac, forged a powerful confederation against British expansion into the Old Northwest.
Clair’s column suffered an even more ignominious defeat on the Wabash River the following year; only in 1794 did Anthony Wayne gain revenge at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
But Harrison pushed into Canada and won the Battle of the Thames, which saw the death of Tecumseh and the collapse of his confederation. Upon the Spanish cession of Florida, Washington began removing the territory’s tribes to lands west of the Mississippi River. In Texas, where such warfare had marred the independent republic’s brief history, the situation was especially volatile.
Sporadic conflicts also plagued Arizona and New Mexico throughout the 1850s as the army struggled to establish its presence. Defeat there and at Honey Springs (1863) dampened enthusiasm for the South, although tribal leaders like Stand Waite continued to support the confederacy until the war’s end. Major battlefield encounters like George Armstrong Custer’s triumph at the Battle of the Washita (1868) had been rare; more telling was the army’s destruction of Indian lodges, horses, and food supplies, exemplified by Ranald Mackenzie’s slaughter of over a thousand Indian ponies following a skirmish at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, in 1874. Only in conjunction with railroad expansion, the destruction of the buffalo, increased numbers of non-Indian settlers, and the determination of successive governments to crush any challenge to their sovereignty had white armies overwhelmed the tribes. Magua in Last of the Mohicans (1992), Scar in The Searchers, Captain Jack in Drum Beat, Toriano in Arrowhead, Ulzana in Ulzana's Raid, Massai in Apache and Geronimo are just a few portrayals that can be considered positive when examined from a Native point of view. Movies about Native Americans reflect the changing attitudes of American society towards Native American history and of the American treatment of them.
In New England, Puritan forces annihilated the Pequots in 1636-1637, a campaign whose intensity seemed to foreshadow the future.
Although his raids wreaked havoc upon the surrounding white settlements, the British victory in the French and Indian War combined with the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, soon eroded Pontiac’s support.
Western Pennsylvania and New York became savage battlegrounds as the conflict spread to the Wyoming and Cherry valleys.
Yet resistance to white expansion in the Old Northwest continued as a Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, molded a large Indian confederation based at Prophetstown. In the Southeast, the Creeks gained a major triumph against American forces at Fort Sims, killing many of their prisoners in the process.


But the Seminole Indians and runaway slaves refused to relocate, and the Second Seminole War saw fierce guerrilla-style actions from 1835 to 1842. On the southern plains, mounted warriors posed an even more formidable challenge to white expansion.
By campaigning through much of the winter, harassing Indian villages, and winning battles like that at Wolf Mountain (1877), Nelson A. But this edge was not universal; Indian warriors carrying repeating weapons during the latter nineteenth century sometimes outgunned their army opponents, who were equipped with cheaper (but often more reliable) single-shot rifles and carbines. Subsequent attacks inspired by Metacom (King Philip) against English settlements sparked a concerted response from the New England Confederation.
In King William’s (1689-1697), Queen Anne’s (1702-1713), and King George’s (1744-1748) wars, the French sponsored Abnaki and Mohawk raids against the more numerous English. Strong American forces finally penetrated the heart of Iroquois territory, leaving a wide swath of destruction in their wake.
While Tecumseh was away seeking additional support, William Henry Harrison burned the village after a stalemate at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.
Andrew Jackson led the counterthrust, winning victories at Tallasahatchee and Talladega before crushing the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Osceola, perhaps the greatest Seminole leader, was captured during peace talks in 1837, and nearly three thousand Seminoles were eventually removed. Strikes against the Sioux, Cheyennes, Arapahos, Comanches, and Kiowas during the decade only hinted at the deadlier conflicts of years to come. Carleton and Christopher (“Kit”) Carson conducted a ruthlessly effective campaign against the Navahos in New Mexico and Arizona. Canby’s death (he was the only general ever killed by Indians) helped shatter President Ulysses S.
As the scene shifted from the eastern woodlands to the western plains, white armies found it increasingly difficult to initiate fights with their Indian rivals.
On the other hand, Victor, who endures Arnold’s alcoholism, domestic violence, and eventually abandonment, regards his father with both deep love and bitter resentment. Employing Indian auxiliaries and a scorched-earth policy, the colonists nearly exterminated the Narragansetts, Wampanoags, and Nipmucks in 1675-1676. Meanwhile, the English and their trading partners, the Chickasaws and often the Cherokees, battled the French and associated tribes for control of the lower Mississippi River valley and the Spanish in western Florida. The Third Seminole War (1855-1858) stamped out all but a handful of the remaining members of the tribe. Disputes on the southern plains culminated in the Sand Creek massacre (1864), during which John M. The tribes had to sue for peace, and even Sitting Bull’s band returned from Canada to accept reservation life in 1881. Thomas and Victor grow up together as neighbors and acquaintances, fighting with each other and simultaneously forming a close, albeit uneasy, alliance.
Chivington’s Colorado volunteers slaughtered over two hundred of Black Kettle’s Cheyennes and Arapahos, many of whom had already attempted to come to terms with the government. Another outbreak among the Sioux and Northern Cheyennes, precipitated by government corruption, shrinking reservations, and the spread of the Ghost Dance, culminated in a grisly encounter at Wounded Knee (1890), in which casualties totaled over two hundred Indians and sixty-four soldiers.
Refusing life on a government-selected reservation, Chief Joseph’s Nez Perces led the army on an epic seventeen-hundred-mile chase through Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana until checked by Miles just short of the Canadian border at Bear Paw Mountain (1877). This dangerous tactic had worked well at the Battle of the Washita but could produce disastrous results when large numbers of tribesmen chose to stand and fight, as at the Little Bighorn.
The French and their Indian allies dominated the conflict’s early stages, turning back several English columns in the north.
In Minnesota, attacks by the Eastern Sioux prompted counterattacks by the volunteer forces of Henry H. Also unsuccessful was armed resistance among the Bannocks, Paiutes, Sheepeaters, and Utes in 1878-1879. The conflict became general when John Pope mounted a series of unsuccessful expeditions onto the plains in 1865. But with English minister William Pitt infusing new life into the war effort, British regulars and provincial militias overwhelmed the French and absorbed all of Canada.




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