Friday, August 07, 2009

The Great Indian Wars || DVD Toxic Release




...digital image (art) ©2009. Turtle Heart

The Great Indian Wars
2005. Now circulating the internet p2p, torrent and avi networks. 

Recently released as a DVD boxed set.

Bci / Eclipse || 235 minutes || ASIN: B000ALM4IA

Viewer warning |
Facts in this video series are farther away than they may seem in your monitor.

The only Good Indian is a Dead Indian. While they don’t say this out right, that seems to be the implicit message in this terrible 5-part series now making the rounds….no it was not made in 1950, as the attitudes would suggest, but is in fact a contemporary and one-sided look at the wars with the Plains tribes, north and south.

While the film claims to be about all the so-called Indian Wars, they have virtually nothing to say about the wars with the Spanish on the west coast and southwest. What is talked about is so unbelievably one-sided that I was taken by surprise.

The production is entirely contrived, a running narrative with pasted in film clips from bad movies, hobbyist re-enactments and entirely un-credited illustrations from who knows where.

There are a very few comments by people loosely identified as “historians”, but who look more like random beer-buyers in the local 7-11.

If there is a more one-sided, paranoid and phony story about the American Indians and the invading Americans, I have not yet seen it or heard about it. There is not a single positive American Indian voice anywhere in this series. This film seems like propaganda. They praise the virtues of butchers like Sherman (the US civil war general), and the lunatic Custer as if they were heroes who saved the country from a terrible fate. The murder, assaults, theft and destruction of the American Indian culture is seen as a justified and righteous manifest destiny. The most useful revelation was how dedicated the leadership of the US Military to decimate the tribes, their culture, property and beliefs. This part they make perfectly clear along with the fact that the American Civil war introduced a serious quantum upgrade to the character and destructive potential of the weapons used against the savages.

There are a lot of highly questionable maps that are used to claim to understand who all the American Indians are and where they came from. There are numerous errors as well as outright false information contained in the narrative. One of these cultured facts is the assertion that “as many as 23,000 American Indians” were killed in these wars. This is the lowest attribution I have ever heard.

As we gain even more distance in time and memory as to the clashes and struggles between the modern Americans who came to North America and took by force, murder and lies the homeland of another culture, it is tragic that films like this will probably be studied and taken seriously by students interested in this period. The tragedy of this series is that it was made by thoughtless people with zero interest in understanding what is true.This is happening even as we see more and more openness in telling the truth about WW 2 and so many other historical events really going all out to cover all sides of those events.

I wonder how the Jewish people, for example, might feel if Hitler’s friends made their version of the story of the killing of so many Jewish people? As an American Indian, that is close, I expect, to how I felt watching this series. If I were making a film like this I would show it to the American Indians to see what they thought of it. Maybe they should have shown this film to an audience of psychologists before releasing it. While, every now and then, some modern people struggle at great expense and rivers of good intentions to come to terms with its history and its American Indian bodies still living on this earth, it is rare that accuracy, fairness or honesty is the result. I am not entirely sure I understand why this is. I have very little confidence or belief in the majority of video material I have seen on the subject of American Indians. Perhaps it is because it is also rare for any of these well-intentioned and financed people to actually know any living, informed and initiated American Indian people. Hey ! I wonder why that is? They can be found. I seem to remember most of the American Indians were rounded up more or less and put onto little rectangles of land called reservations. Perhaps that is it. All of these efforts seem to be the view of the distant stranger, the voyeur who knows no one, touches no one yet has to much to say about what they think they see.

It is not easy to understand what the intentions of the producers are in this series. If their intention was to create a sound historical document, they have failed completely. While it would be unfair to say everything about this film is bad, the truth is so much is wrong with it, that is the only choice I feel that is left to me, as a reviewer in this case.

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