When one lives in a settler-colonialist state, when one is ashamed of or conflicted about one's settler privilege or the actions of one's ancestors, it can appear to be emotionally simpler, easier, to identify with an indigenous viewpoint. "If I had lived then," so many of these books and movies say, "I would have done differently. I would have been on the side of the Natives."
Almost always: would have done. Would have been.
Almost never: am doing.
Of course, I'm a liberal, but I don't feel ashamed of or conflicted by my ancestors. It seems pretty simple to me. If they thought about Indians at all, they were probably racists and therefore wrong.
I don't "wanna be" an Indian to refight these battles. If I went back in time, I'd be a white guy on the sidelines denouncing the liars and hypocrites. Just as I'm doing now. <g>
The second attitude is more of a conservative one. "We honor the Indians as fierce warriors (but never as brilliant thinkers). Just look at them on our sports logos and military craft, where their fighting and killing spirit lives on. If you want to convey a "take no prisoners" attitude, what better way than with an Indian?
"Indians fought bravely for their land and people, but lost to a superior civilization. We beat them fair and square, so now America is ours. By honoring them, we honor our own greatness."
For more on the subject, see Indian Wannabes = Celebrity Wannabes and Smashing People: The "Honor" of Being an Athlete.