May 28, 2016

Persistent stereotype of burial grounds

A posting on the stereotype of Indian burial grounds makes some good points:

'The Darkness,' 'The Shining,' And The Persistent Myth of The "Indian Burial Ground"

Redsploitation Horror has a long tradition in American cinema. Kevin Bacon's new horror flick continues the trend.

By Matt Kim
In truth, these types of stories often frame Native Americans—who rarely appear in horror stories purportedly written about them and their culture—into westernized notions of the supernatural and the afterlife. Ghosts and possessions and the like are more closely associated with European superstitions, while there are simply too many diverse traditions in the indigenous culture to pigeonhole as a unified religion, or set of spiritual practices.And:There is some poetic justice, I imagine, in films which revolve around Native American “curses” destroying the lives of suburban white families. Naive nuclear family units who often overstep their bounds by moving into either a former reservation land, or burial ground, end up incurring the wrath of the vengeful spirits or dormant curse laid down by a people who were themselves laid down by the United States government. There’s an attempt at cultural restitution there, by way of making white American guilt into a literal horror.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Evil Spirits in The Darkness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a white woman, I believe that the burial ground theme is a way of trying to grapple with the meaning of justice. If a family moves into a development, the family didn't disturb the ground -- someone they will never meet did. By the time they realize the development should not be there, they are rooted in the house and have nowhere else to go. It's a symbol of what it means to benefit from past wrongs but not to have enough power or knowledge to change it. In the movies, the lesson is usually, just get out of the house. But there are hundreds of millions of European-Americans, and Europe will not take us. So, what is the answer?