Announcing one’s favorite Indian chiefs seems like it might be bad timing coming this close to Thanksgiving, especially with the videos hitting social networks now that want to tell of how the first Thanksgiving really went down. There’s no doubt that Native Americans were given a very raw deal in the past and their culture has suffered for it since. But in the movies the stereotype has become something of an issue throughout the years and many people have voiced their displeasure about it. In terms of cultural appropriation it is a very big deal if someone is trying to pass themselves off as a Native American without being able to trace their lineage back throughout so many generations. But it would seem that playing the part of a Native American is even worse since it seems that many people feel it is a slap in the face that they can’t abide.
Thankfully there are at least a couple of men on this list that are not just actors playing the role of a Native American.
5. Ten Bears-Dances With Wolves
Ten Bears was a wise, very patient man that didn’t talk quickly or even move quickly. He didn’t have to since he’d proven himself to his tribe long ago and earned the respect that so many gave him. In fact he was one of the few that came to truly want to understand John Dunbar before anyone else, as he was not so quick to condemn him as others would have been.
4. Indian Chief-Blazing Saddles
Mel Brooks has been called many things throughout his career and racist is only one of them that he tends to laugh off. Whether he’s right for doing isn’t the issue really, but the fact that he dresses up like a Native American in this movie would likely cause huge problems in a film released in this day and age. He knew how to do slapstick and make a funny movie, but man did he get controversial.
3. Ten Bears-The Outlaw Josey Wales
I’m kind of wondering if Ten Bears is a popular name or if there was a reason why Dances with Wolves used the same name as this popular figure that stood opposite of Clint Eastwood for this scene. Whatever the case, Ten Bears was known for his war-like demeanor in this film and was not a person to be messed with since he showed little to no mercy to his enemies.
2. Sioux Chief-Shanghai Noon
This is another parody of sorts on the part of the Native Americans since it has little to do with the movie other than being a sidebar to the main plot and it has them getting Jackie Chan’s character stoned. Even the chief has to admit that whatever his shaman or medicine man put into the pipe is some powerful stuff. Given what some of the substances that Native Americans have been rumored to use can do, it might be considered polite to do one puff and pass it along.
1. Chief Joseph-Maverick
Graham Greene has played more than the part of a Native American in many films, but this seems to be one role that he might have been able to have fun with. I mean who else in cinema gets to goof around with Mel Gibson this much?
Yes it is a big stereotype, but keep in mind it’s for show, and is not meant to be taken seriously at all.
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