"The Cross-Heart People": Indigenous narratives,cinema, and the Western

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/290072
Title:
"The Cross-Heart People": Indigenous narratives,cinema, and the Western
Author:
Hearne, Joanna Megan
Issue Date:
2004
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The Cross-Heart People': Indigenous Narratives, Cinema, and the Western examines cycles of cinematic and literary production, public interest, and Federal Indian policy; redirects critical considerations of the "frontier myth" in the Western; and calls attention to indigenous participation and activism in the genre from the silent era onward. To this end, my study maps changing configurations of Native American and cross-racial homes in the "Indian drama" and other visual and textual forms. Such reciprocal generic influences have lent fictional narratives the authority of documentary "truth" while infusing ethnographic image-making with the conventions of frontier melodramas. I argue that indigenous filmmaking began more than half a century before most film histories acknowledge, and that intertextual relationships between early films by native directors and genres such as the ethnographic documentary and the Western were central to the development of contemporary indigenous media. Stories of cross-racial romance intersect with policies of institutional intervention in native families throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and frequently address the societal consequences of adoption, boarding school, military service, and incarceration. Individual chapters of the dissertation focus on the cinematic re-visions of James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans between 1909 and 1992; the influence of Edwin Milton Royle's 1906 stage play The Squaw Man on the silent Westerns of James Young Deer, D. W. Griffith, and Cecil B. De Mille; the invention of the "pro-Indian" Hollywood film in the context of indigenous experiences in WWII and shifting Federal Indian policies; and, in the last two chapters, the development of indigenous media through the filmmaking practices of N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Victor Masayesva, and Zacharias Kunuk in the context of revisionist representations by non-native directors, from Edward S. Curtis's In the Land of the War Canoes (1914) to Tom Laughlin's Billy Jack (1973). The reflexive gestures in recent native-directed films--their reclaiming of tradition and their focus on the historical associations between social disruption and the manipulation of indigenous images through photographs, documentaries, and Hollywood films--critically assess and re-appropriate the colonizing logic of preservation and the primitivist tropes of the "Indian drama."
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Literature, American.; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.; Cinema.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Evers, Larry

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.title"The Cross-Heart People": Indigenous narratives,cinema, and the Westernen_US
dc.creatorHearne, Joanna Meganen_US
dc.contributor.authorHearne, Joanna Meganen_US
dc.date.issued2004en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe Cross-Heart People': Indigenous Narratives, Cinema, and the Western examines cycles of cinematic and literary production, public interest, and Federal Indian policy; redirects critical considerations of the "frontier myth" in the Western; and calls attention to indigenous participation and activism in the genre from the silent era onward. To this end, my study maps changing configurations of Native American and cross-racial homes in the "Indian drama" and other visual and textual forms. Such reciprocal generic influences have lent fictional narratives the authority of documentary "truth" while infusing ethnographic image-making with the conventions of frontier melodramas. I argue that indigenous filmmaking began more than half a century before most film histories acknowledge, and that intertextual relationships between early films by native directors and genres such as the ethnographic documentary and the Western were central to the development of contemporary indigenous media. Stories of cross-racial romance intersect with policies of institutional intervention in native families throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and frequently address the societal consequences of adoption, boarding school, military service, and incarceration. Individual chapters of the dissertation focus on the cinematic re-visions of James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans between 1909 and 1992; the influence of Edwin Milton Royle's 1906 stage play The Squaw Man on the silent Westerns of James Young Deer, D. W. Griffith, and Cecil B. De Mille; the invention of the "pro-Indian" Hollywood film in the context of indigenous experiences in WWII and shifting Federal Indian policies; and, in the last two chapters, the development of indigenous media through the filmmaking practices of N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Victor Masayesva, and Zacharias Kunuk in the context of revisionist representations by non-native directors, from Edward S. Curtis's In the Land of the War Canoes (1914) to Tom Laughlin's Billy Jack (1973). The reflexive gestures in recent native-directed films--their reclaiming of tradition and their focus on the historical associations between social disruption and the manipulation of indigenous images through photographs, documentaries, and Hollywood films--critically assess and re-appropriate the colonizing logic of preservation and the primitivist tropes of the "Indian drama."en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectLiterature, American.en_US
dc.subjectSociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.en_US
dc.subjectCinema.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorEvers, Larryen_US
dc.identifier.proquest3132226en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b46708686en_US
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