John Wayne taught my daughter that she is an Indian

In honor of my daughter Hannah’s 9th birthday, I’m passing along a short essay that I published on John Ford’s film Fort Apache (1948).

When Hannah was four years old, we watched this film together and I wrote about the experience for LeAnne Howe, Harvey Markowitz, and Denise K. Cummings’ edited collection entitled Seeing Red- Hollywood Pixel Skins: American Indians and Film.

There are so many ways for authors to approach their reviews of films.

At first, I wanted to write a scathing commentary on the racists ways the film depicted Native people, but I chose instead to understand the film from the perspective of an American Indian child.

I had hoped to reach more people with this approach, and bring a sense of the “humanity” to the larger topic of films, stereotypes, and racism.

As I mention in the essay, my time seeing the film with Hannah also brought back many childhood memories of watching John Wayne films on Saturday afternoons with my dad.

Screenshot 2013-11-29 10.26.20
Click to download (3 pages)

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