Dances With Wolves Essay, Research Paper
Indians were the original occupants of this land we call America. They
lived off the land and were quite content. But, when white settlers came here to
colonize, it became inevitable that the Indians ways were going to end. The white settlers were more interested in spreading out and starting new homes than the tradition that stood in their way. Having better weapons and better technology, the white settlers killed Indians at the drop of a hat. Since communication was difficult, treaties, if attempted, often favored the superior feeling white men. Therefore, making no treaties with the disrespectful white man, Indians were forced to flee in preservation of their lives and beliefs. Although many were brave and courageous to fight for what was theirs, it just wasn t enough to stop the enormous armies destined to eliminate the Indians and take their land.
One of the main issues of the Indians and white settlers was the hunting of tatanka, or, as commonly known, the buffalo. The Indians used the buffalo for their necessities like meat and fur for food and clothing. They used almost all of the buffalo, including the tongue, leaving an amount that would keep a door mouse s belly growling. The white settlers would just kill the buffalo for the fur to sell. They would often kill them for sport and leave the bodies to rot. An example is from Dances with Wolves when the Indians hunted the buffalo herd for days only to find dead carcasses all over the plains leaving most of the buffalo to go to waste. The Indians respected the buffalo and viewed killing it as a spiritual event. After all, Indians only killed buffalo to keep themselves alive.
One of the biggest differences between the Indians and white settlers was their use of the land and resources. The Indians had respect for their land and took care of it the best they could. The land was the only thing they had that was worth any price value. They would bathe in the river and sleep on the ground, whereas the white settlers built homes to live in and bathed in tubs. They would sleep in soft cushioned beds. However, when Dances with Wolves is captured by the army upon returning to his hut to retrieve his journal, he is shown bathing in the stream. When the weather gets too cold, the Indians travel to their winter camp. The winter camp is a place they go that is warmer than their previous location. They bundled up in the hides they created from the hunted buffaloes. The white settlers would find a spot that suited them, usually by a river or other natural resource, and built homes to live in. They would live in this home all year round. The home would keep the cold out in the winter. In the summer, it was a place to escape the heat. The white settlers and Indians were both farmers. However, due to the white settlers staying in one spot and the Indians moving around, the white settlers could make a living out of it. Farming was the first thing white settlers did when they found a site to call their own. Indians were more hunters since they knew the land and animals so well.
The Indians main goal relating to their relationship with the white man was to stay alive. They were willing to make treaties with other cultures if it would save their lives. But the Indians weren t afraid to fight. Kicking bird was against killing John Dunbar and said that he could be the key to making treaties between themselves and white men. The white settlers saw the Indians as savages and were willing to terminate all of them if they could get some of their land. They assumed that Indians were hostile and wouldn t listen. When John Dunbar went to get his orders from the high ranking officer who s name is unknown, the officer assumed he was an Indian killer after having heard he lived on the prairie. The white settlers didn t give any slack to the Indians and immediately forbid their acceptance into their culture and way of life. The Indians didn t get a chance to explain themselves and were treated unfairly from the start. The Indians didn t accept the white man into their culture either but for good reason. They said that white men take without asking. Eventually, they were willing to accept white man due to their rising power. As if this weren t enough, the Indians competed with other tribes.
Perhaps the quarrel between the different tribes was worse than that between the
white settlers and Indians. The hate between tribes was formed on account of
living quarters, much like the that of the white settlers, but it is unexplainable why it was so much greater. The acceptance between different tribes was rare and could be seen as an act done by savages.
If looked at from a neutral standpoint, one will see that the Indians weren t savages and had a great sense of loyalty. It is arguable that they even had more loyalty than white men. The Indians didn t have fancy things and lots of high-tech items. However, the one thing they had was greater than anything in the world. They had family. The Indians had family to talk to, be with, to help each other, and to look out for. For them, family always came first. The white settlers were too materialistic and selfish. Whatever way was the fastest, easiest, and most beneficial, was the way they would do it. Some white men would betray their country or family if it were in their best interest. For an Indian, this would be unheard of. The Indians had exactly what they wanted and nothing more. The white man always wanted more.
Coming into their home and trying to take over, the Indians found it hard to trust the white settlers. The white man always seemed to get what they wanted. Even when treaties were made, the white man seemed to achieve much more than what was thought to have been agreed on. Whether they tricked them or just took from them, the white settlers became known to be untrustworthy. The white
settlers didn t trust the Indians enough to live in harmony with them so they,
before attempting to get along, starting taking what they wanted. The Indians
couldn t say no for the white settlers would take it anyway. The only way to stop them was by the use of force. This is how the bloodshed started. The Indians and white settlers were constantly looking over their shoulders and watching their backs in fear.
The Indians believed in spirits and gods that could affect your soul and
appear in different forms. Two Sox was a wolf that showed itself to John Dunbar
whenever he was going to encounter the Sioux Indians. He could have been a sign
that warned John Dunbar when the Sioux Indians were coming. But I think that he
was a symbol of the change from a white settler to a Sioux Indian that John
Dunbar was going to make. White settlers don t usually believe in spirits and
symbols as Indians do. Instead, they focus on reality and their own contentment. I believe that the wolf seen at the end of the movie isn t Two Sox, but another wolf. Two Sox was killed by soldiers that were escorting Dances with Wolves to his execution. I also believe that without the Sioux Indians around, the wolves will not appear to Dances with Wolves. They appeared when the Sioux Indians were coming and when Dances with Wolves was leaving. The wolves are a symbol of the relationship of the Sioux Indians and John Dunbar. They could have been what allowed him to become a Sioux Indian. It showed that he had the gift and/or heart to be an Indian even though he wasn t born one.
From the very beginning, the Indians were destined to have been defeated
by the white settlers. I think that even if the white settlers attempted to get along with the Indians and accept them into their society, the differences between the two cultures was too great to stand the test of time. It is true that we (Americans) cheated them out of their land and their friendship, but we are trying to make it up to them now by giving them reservations to live on. It isn t the same as having your own land but it is impossible to move everyone out of the country. The Earth has run out of unmarked space. The primary fact is that we have confessed our mistake and are trying to fix it the best we can.