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Monday, February 11, 2013

"There aren't any more Indians...are there?"

Last night Ellen decided to watch this movie, again...

When we first got it, a few months ago, she wasn't very impressed with it; if you have seen it you realize that much of the interaction on it is non-verbal.  The horse narrates the movie to a certain extent, but the horses do not talk to each other.  In that way it makes it a bit above a 5 yr old's enjoyment, although there are sections where Ellen laughs. 

I haven't actually sat down and watched the movie through seamlessly; but Ellen has watched it enough and I have caught the majority of it to where I enjoy it, too. 

But last night she surprised me.

After it was over she turned toward me and asked; "There aren't any more Indians, are there?" 

This necessitated the discussion; "Well, Ellen, you have an aunt and an uncle who are Native American Indian."  And I attempted to explain in the simplest way I could the difference between 1800s Native Americans and modern Native Americans, but I dunno how much of it she took in. 

At any rate, I knew exactly what she meant because I distinctly remember asking my father the same exact question back when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  And I equally remember his astonished reaction and his amusement; "But your brother and sister and their mom's family are all Indians!"  (This was my dad's first wife.)

Well, yes, I'd known that, but, but, but...  Even at nine years old I felt the poignancy of a civilization lost, a lifestyle decimated.  As far as I was concerned my brother and sister and their brand of Indian were about as unromantic as I could imagine.  I wanted Natives that wore breechclouts and warpaint, sent up smoke signals and galloped bareback across the prairies in search of buffalo.  A brother who drove cars and a sister who wore modern makeup, used curling irons and wore high heels just didn't cut the mustard. 

And now, at almost-age-6 my own daughter has asked the same question.  And I have to wonder if somehow a youngster of these tender years can catch that same poignancy from this film. 

Spirit gained his freedom and wild mustangs still roam free to a certain extent, but what about the Lakota?