February 08, 2008

Racist Swedish documentary

How awful is this production? It trots out every Native stereotype of the last century. It's filmed Cops-style to make its subjects look bad. And the on-camera "experts" are known racists.

A description of this shocking documentary:

Shocking documentary about Native AmericansI think I just head a small heart attack!

I got quite happy noticing there would be a Danish documentary about Indigenous peoples on TV tonight. That film had got sponsor money from just about all Scandinavian countries and from institutes and funds that we had applied to, but had been denied money from. So it might be interesting to see what kind of film we SHOULD have made to get that money....

It all starts with a white history professor saying: "There are no traditional cultures left, they are all in museums! (Oh, geez, this doesn´t start well, I thought). It got worse. Much worse. The film might have been called Ten reasons to dislike indigenous peoples. It showed nothing but drunks and criminals. When they finally got to American Indians, after aborigines and inuits, all they showed were the casinos. The footage from the reservations was filmed with hidden cameras to show the ongoing arguments between tribal members. And because they were not welcomed to film on the reservations, they said....

AND the spokesperson for Indians was David Yeagley!!!

The conclusion of the film was that all indians should assimilate, the reservations should close down and the professor finished by repeating that no traditional cultures were left. The success for native people was how modern they were living, not how traditionally they were living!! No one bothered to ask any traditionalists what they thought, though.
Comment:  The name of the documentary is Historiens fångar (Prisoners of the Past). It used to be available online, but now there's only a page describing it in Swedish. Here's my description of its contents.

After a short introduction, the video proceeds in English. It devotes about 20 mins. each to Aborigines, the Inuit, Indians, and the Sami of Finland. The Indian section is almost solely about Indian casinos. David Yeagley is the primary "Indian" spokesman.

Yeagley says casinos have helped only a few leaders and families. They haven't helped anyone else. The video quotes one disenrolled member of Table Mountain Rancheria extensively. It also quotes Barbara Lindsay of One Nation United, a right-wing group that opposes Indians.

So the video shows no genuine tribal leaders or cultures. Nothing about how tribes are revitalizing themselves, often with gaming revenues. If it were an anti-casino propaganda film, one might deem it good. But as a honest look at Indians today, it's pure rubbish.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow, that's pretty bad... Currently I am doing a project for my English class based on the "Myth of the Old West". Basically my teacher is trying to destroy all these stereotypes in and outside the classroom, it is junk (the documentary) like this that drags us all backward...