“Dances with Wolves” Movie Analysis

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Before I start my paper, I want to provide a quick summary of the movie I watch, which is Dances with Wolves. The movie is about this Civil war soldier whose name is John Dunbar. He is a war hero and sent to watch over a post in the western part of the United States. He is living there by himself. He saves a Lakota woman and soon befriends the Lakota Sioux people. He hunts with the Lakota and live with them. The Lakota Sioux soon treats him like a part of the tribe and gives him the name Dances with Wolves. He is given his name because he was seen playing with a wolf. He later marries Stand with fist, the women he saved. He is about to travel with the Lakota for the winter when he gets capture by some Americans and going to try him as a traitor. The Lakota comes and saves him. Dances with Wolves lives out the rest of his life with the Lakota people.

At the beginning of the movie neither the Lakota nor John Dunbar were hungry. The Lakota had a stock of meet. John Dunbar had a lot of food because he thought he was going be living with other people. Later when the movie the Lakota needed to restock their food supply. They soon found out that white settlers had wasted many of the buffalo that the Lakota use for food. This caused the Lakota to travel a lot farther to get food. The buffalo were the Native Americans main food source. They did not grow food. John Dunbar also used the buffalo with the Native Americans. The Native Americans were not invisible to John Dunbar. They were seen as having a lower status to other white settlers and Americans. The Native Americans had a good present in John Dunbar’s life. They can and visited him and later he visited with them at their home. He also lived with them. The Native Americans were very visible throughout the whole movie.

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The Native Americans knew about the white settlers. They had heard stories have what they had done to other tribes. The whites thought they had power over the Native Americans and but the Native Americans believed they did not. Some of the things the whites had done to the Native Americans were take their land. They Native Americans kept getting push farther west. The Native Americans could only own a small position of land. The Lakota in the movie had to learn the white ways to survive. They learned how to use a gun. The whites and Lakota and other tribes were all at war with each other. The whites were conquering the Lakota’s and killing many leading to genocide.

The whites had control of many things. They believed that they needed more but the Lakota were against it. The whites knew how to grow crops and build buildings and work jobs. All this was new to the Lakota. The Lakota did not have agriculture and just survive living as a family with everyone having a certain job. The women were seen as below the men. They had certain task in the community. These tasks include sign the buffalo, watching the kids and keeping the village safe while the men were away at battles. The environment was used by the Native Americans with care. They would make sure to not over use anything and would give back to the earth in many different ways. The whites used the land without cared. They would leave things everywhere and just trash the land. and over hunt.

The Native Americans and John Dunbar had different religion and ideology about everything. The Lakota did not have a religion. John Dunbar and other white settlers were most likely Christen. At first John Dunbar did not understand the Lakota’s’ ways but he soon was able to through contact with them. The other whites did not understand and did not want to learn. This led to killing many innocent Native Americans. The government played a role in the starvation of the Native Americans was allowing people to move west. Also, the government did not care about the Lakota and the other tribes. Some did want to take care of the Lakota by feeding them but most of them rather have them starve. Future implications the movie reveal was the future of Native Americans. At the very end you learn that the last of the Lakota get sent to a reservation. When they are the reservation, they lost all their freedom and become dependent on the United States government for everything including food. The food that the government would give to the Lakota would be unhealthy and the Lakota had to adopt to what they were given.

The rights theory can be applied to the issue of the Lakota getting push. the Lakota had rights to land and the right to hunt for food on that land. The government should have not been able to take that away from the Lakota. The nature law can also be applied because the whites thought they were the stronger ones and need the Lakota to disappear. The divine command theory can also be applied because God told the Americans to move west. The Americans also used the paternalism principles. They were deciding what the Lakota should do and where they should live.

When I saw the buffalo wasted it made me mad. This was the Lakota’s’ food and it was just wasting away. I felt like it was done on purpose, so the Lakota would move, and the whites could settle. I learn from the movie that there were some people that did want to fight for the Lakota’s’ rights but there was not enough to make a difference. I agree with the point of view of the movie. It saw how the Lakota lived and how the Americans treated them. I would recommend the movie. It had a good story and had some educational information in it.

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“Dances with Wolves” Movie Analysis. (2021, Dec 17). Retrieved from


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