The Representation of Native Americans in the Modern Entertainment Industry
Hollywood has been producing movies about the fabled Wild West, and the characters and people found within it, for years, with the genre becoming most popular in the 1960s. Movies such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; which featured Clint Eastwood in one of his most famous roles, made more than $25 million at the US box office says Box Office Mojo.
Films such as A Man Called Horse, Dances With Wolves and The Lone Ranger have all been cinematically successful too over the years, with many of these films introducing Native American characters and culture into cinema.
Furthermore, in different sectors of entertainment, the video game industry has slowly begun to depict Native Americans and indigenous people and their cultures as NPCs and, nore more often, as protagonists. As gamers and viewers continue to ask for more diverse experiences, how has the environment of modern entertainment shifted due to this diversification?
Native Americans in Film
The Twilight movies are well-known for their cringe-worthy scripts, sparkly vampire men and farfetched ‘star-crossed lovers’ storyline. While few see Edward and Bella’s romance as classic Hollywood art, it did present viewers a realistic depiction of Native Americans (besides the, you know, the turning into werewolves thing). Taylor Lautner, who plays werewolf Jacob, isn’t Native American himself, it’s worth saying, but the actors Chaske Spencer and Alex Meraz, along with others who play members of Jacob’s family are. Their characters don’t fall into cliches, explains Reuters, and there are no ‘loincloths or hair feathers’ in sight when referencing very real aspects of their culture in both the novels and films.
Disney’s Pocahontas, from 1995, is also one of few major animated films to depict Native Americans in any form. That film is about a woman who falls in love with an English settler, which her father is unhappy with. While it’s not a contemporary story, it does present a very real and modern message of bigotry and acceptance.
Native Americans in Gaming
Native Americans have been present in film throughout the years, represented both in a positive and stereotypically negative light; but for video games, these characters are only just beginning to be introduced. Red Dead Redemption 2, the Wild West-themed action-adventure game, which has sold 23 million copies says Metro, introduced Native American NPCs which are resp-ectfully depicted and vital to the narrative plot, not just acting as throwaway side characters.
There are also indie successes to consider, such as Never Alone, a game about a girl trying to save her village from the oncoming winter. It tells players an Iñupiat story and truthfully illustrates how the Native American tribe from Alaska lives.
Furthermore, in the online casino industry, Aurora Wilds is a new slot game developed by Atomic Spins and is built on Microgaming’s Quickfire platform. Offering more than 500 games, Quickfire is supported by many leading online casinos such as Unibet, Virgin Casino, Tropicana Online, and several other casinos shown on Bonus Finder US.
The slot is about Native American life and the five reels on the slot have symbols such as rabbits, horses, and others that you may see on a traditional totem. The reels also feature a gorgeous graphic background of North America, which harks back to the peaceful plains most tribes once settled.
These games all illustrate different fragments of the Native American identity. From the characters shown in Never Alone to those that once thrived in the Wild West amongst fabled cowboys in Red Dead, to slots like Aurora Wilds. With the growing scope of entertainment and more immersive and contemporary projects illustrating to modern consumers what’s possible, we hope the positive representation of Native Americans continues to expand into more than just stereotypical fables and costume-character types.