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Topics in Literature: Learning about Native American Culture

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I am not a fan of History. In fact, I have been struggling with dates, facts, and wars since I was in middle school. It gets worse every single time I try to learn it. However, in the past month it has been different.

In my Topics in Literature class, we are learning about the Native Americans and their history in the United States. English Professor Richard Marranca let my classmates and I watch some classic movies about it: The Searchers, Dances with Wolves, and Smoke Signals.

I watched some short scenes from those movies, and I had different feelings about them. For example, in The Searchers, the Native Americans take a little girl who is not older than thirteen years old. After this scene, the group of Native Americans and the Cowboys had a fight leaving some of the members killed or hurt in both groups. I felt for not only the girl, but for both groups too.

I was totally shocked after watching Dances with Wolves. At first, the lieutenant had a suicide attempt while some group shoots him while he is riding his horse. After this, he becomes part of the Native American community where he learns about their behavior and culture. At the end, he starts speaking the Native American language, which shows the respect he has for the culture and the character development he had during the movie.

Lastly, I watched Smoke Signals. These clips showed an excellent example of Victor: A Native American living in contemporary times. He tries so hard to keep his customs in his life. I am an emotional person, so watching him trying to understand and forgive his father for the past was overwhelming to me.

Personally, I liked the clips and the message they have for the audience. For instance, the respect, empathy, tolerance between the cultures, the appreciation to family, nature, and spirituality. I believe everybody should watch these clips for educational and entertainment purposes.

The Searchers

Dances with Wolves

Smoke Signals

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