The plot of Free Birds, coming to a theater near you November 1, finds an oppressed population traveling back in time to 1621 to change the course of history and save future generations. No, it's not Native Americans--it's turkeys. The turkeys from the future band together with their ancestors and wage a Braveheart-style war on the Pilgrims. It's your standard anthropomorphic kid-flick wackiness, and if history has to be fudged to make it work then so be it.
The Natives who took part in the First Thanksgiving were Wampanoags. They didn't wear elaborate feather headdresses and they didn't ride horses. The Wampanoags shared a continent with the Cheyenne, Comanche and Lakota, but that doesn't make them interchangeable. Would it be OK to portray the Pilgrims as Italians? All white people from Europe are the same, after all. And then you could have these Pellegrini putting the turkeys in a pasta dish, which would allow you to rewrite the movie's puzzling tagline, "Hang On To Your Nuggets" (do people eat turkey nuggets?) as "Hang On To Your Meatballs."
Just a thought. Free Birds doesn't open for another three weeks, so perhaps there's time for some re-editing.
Either way, the producers should've made an effort to get the Indians right. It wouldn't have been hard.
If the Plains Indians appear for more than a minute or so, I'd call this a serious offense. Once again, millions of people will see false and stereotypical images that warp their perceptions.
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