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Pow Wow Highway and Kinship in Identity Politics

Pow Wow Highway operates within identity politics of marginalized people in the United States, dealing most significantly with kinship politics and economies of oppression. The road is very male in this film, with two oddly paired men out to save a woman who has been subjected by the white male capitalist system. Buddy and Philbert vividly play out the past-present conflict inherent to most identity politics. Do marginalized groups use modern methods of radical politics and protest to achieve their end? Or is it crucial to connect with the history of one’s group and movement in order to effectively fight the powers that be? In Pow Wow Highway, it turns out that you need both to liberate yourself. But more than that, the film says that identity politics are based in a kinship bond, people with the same background and the same interests staying connected and helping eachother with little question or suspicion. It feels good to watch a film in which people believe in eachother and make a community effort to lift themselves out of oppression. But it is also a constant war against the outside world, with little room for a person from within the hegemonic power structure to truly understand their struggle. I did enjoy that the only such person was a strong and sassy woman.
The road in the film is the trip to kinship bonds and escape from the white male capitalist system. As Professor Zita said in class, it is the road to non-conformity, a place where the characters do not try or want to become a part of the “other? world that has been coded as white.