What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.
In Pow Wow highway, the two main characters are both powerful, masculine men. I do not think there is a huge disparity in the way the two are gendered, except that Buddy receives more sexual attention from women than does Philbert. I think there is a hint of romance between Philbert and Bonnie Red Bow, however, so he is masculinized in that way a little bit. It seems like the two men each fulfill different masculine modern Cheyenne roles. Maybe Philbert can be likened to a wise old spiritual guide, while Buddy is like a young, restless warrior. Both are archetypal American Indian male leaders. In the film, as in historical life, there are overlaps and other types of males, but these two are focal. To put it another way, more translatable to white masculinity, Buddy is like jaunty soldier, and Philbert is like Grandpa. Each has a certain necessary value, attraction, and masculine contribution. This is demonstrated in the glorification of Buddy's stance against oil drilling on Indian land, and the sexual attraction Rabbit feels for him after the bar fight. We don't ever see women doing any fighting, physically or politically. They just talk, if that. Philbert performs the role of cultural teacher for Bonnie's two kids, especially the son. I think this is a masculinized role in the film, since Bonnie has so far neglected to teach them their heritage; she is not directly confronted with this neglect at any point, maybe because it wasn't her "role as a woman" to teach them. At any rate, the passing on of sacred knowledge is a male deal in the film always, as demonstrated in the crude and jaded speech of Aunt Harriet, and the radio conversation between Philbert and another Native American man. I think the road narrative demonstrates the need for both types of Indian masculinity, showing how an inner balance is always necessary to maintain your identity in diaspora, and showing when brute force is good or spiritual meditation is better.