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As Hollywood developed in the 1960s, there was a noticeable decline in Western genre films. Therefore the depiction of the stereotypical "Indian" was reduced. There were a few exceptions such as the film Windwalker (1980). Indian actors nearly vanished entirely from audience screens. If not for Kevin Costner's multi-Oscar winner Dances with Wolves (1990) they may have disappeared altogether. The film featured prominent Indian actors and provided audiences with a sensitive and developed Indian cultural representation. The Last of The Mohicans (1992) also renewed audiences interest in Native American culture. The film gave more of an understanding of Native customs, a feature which Dances with Wolves noticeably lacked.

While Indians were gathering more opportunities in Hollywood, they still faced limitations. There were many smaller roles for Indian actors, but few starring roles available. Tokala Clifford, an actor who acted performed in Dreamworks' Into the West (2006) recalls his own limitations when facing the Hollywood system: "It is difficult to be an actor regardless of who you are. But as far as facing adversity based on racial bias, I don't think there is any doubt that actors of a Native American ethnicity have faced an uphill struggle. We still face that uphill struggle."

In recent years there has been a rise of Native American producers and scriptwriters, working to offer audiences a new perspective on Indian culture . Now it's the job of Native Americans to challenge the racial stereotypes which Hollywood filmmakers have established. Chris Eyre achieved this with his 1998 film Smoke Signals, which was directed and written by and starred only Native Americans. The film tells the story of Victor Joseph (Adam Beach) who must come to terms with his feelings after the recent death of his alcoholic and abusive father Arthur. The film set a benchmark for its existence in western dominated Hollywood, as one of the few widely distributed films in which...

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  • Submitted by: zublux
  • on March 19, 2012
  • Category: Business and Economics
  • Length: 803 words
  • Views: 541
  • Popularity Rank: 212830
  • 1 rating(s)

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