In Celluloid Indians, Kilpatrick says that "the intention [of boarding schools] was simply to cleanse the Indians of their Indianness so that assimilation could be seamless" (17). To achieve this, children were not allowed to speak their own languages and had to conform to certain Euro-American cultural expectations. In addition, the Dawes Act had destroyed much of the land base of American Indian people and the U.S. government was actively involved in forcing American Indians into "mainstream America". In concert with these aspects of history, how do you think the portrayal of American Indians in the cinema assisted in these assimilation efforts? Do you think it hindered these efforts in any way?
Much of what we have read about anthropology in this class so far has portrayed the field as a harmful force on American Indian cultures because of its tendency to focus on "the distinction of native versus foreign", thereby "othering" American Indian people. It is apparent that this distinction played a role in fueling the era of boarding schools and other attempts at assimilation by the U.S. government. However, do you think that anthropology's attempts at the preservation of "dying" cultures ever have merit? Or does this tendency to make distinctions always lead to the degradation of the culture in question?