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A Journey Through an Indentity

The film Powwow Highway is a road film that provides a journey that is not just physical, but is filled with self exploration that leads to establishing an identity. While watching the film I found myself lacking an identity that is as rich in history as that of Buddy and Philbert as they a strong understanding of their culture and where they come from. At the beginning of the film there are images of oppression to the Native American community through car dealership commericals and the attitudes of the business men trying to gain profit from the land that makes up the reservation.

As Buddy and Philbert go on a journey that represents their people that are being oppressed I search through my hertiage and realize that I have never identified as being a part of an oppressed group of people. My relatives may have come to the United States for more opportunities but the stories have never reached me. Unlike Philbert I do not have an oral history that teaches me of where I come from and who I am in relation to the world. For Philbert he has an understanding for all things in life and sees the importance of his history that gives him a different perspective, instead of feeling oppressed he believes that everything happens for a reason and that the spirits are there to protect him.

Buddy is fighting for his people in a different way than Philbert, it is more political but this causes him to create a separation of himself from the tribe that he is so active for. Throughout the road journey Philbert helps to reconnect Buddy to his true identity by stopping at many places along the way that have historical significance. Philbert gets Buddy to stand in a stream with him, dance at a powwow, and at the end of the film gain a true acceptance of who he is when his necklace that he received from being in wounded knee contributed to Philbert surviving the car crash. The road in the film provides a medium for Buddy and Philbert to take a journey that is not linked to a particular action or event, but is one that goes past the political relm and into each inividual that others can see and experience while watching the film.