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"Native American movie cliches" Topic


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02 Apr 2016 5:39 p.m. PST
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ochoin deach15 Mar 2012 11:06 p.m. PST

Being an astute type of chap, I'm fairly sure no real native Americans ever said, "How!" or "White man speak with forked tongue."

But was the phrase, 'It is a good day to die." in the vocabulary of any native American tribe?

Are there other laughable cliches in this genre you'd like to add?

Plynkes16 Mar 2012 1:14 a.m. PST

Supposedly Crazy Horse said it to encourage his lads as they rode off to take on Custer.


I didn't particularly see it as a clich until Star Trek got hold of it (I had only encountered it in its original context in the Gary Cole Custer film). But then Trek ran the phrase into the ground and convinced everyone that the Klingons invented it.

Jemima Fawr16 Mar 2012 1:47 a.m. PST

I remember that the Chief used the line 'It is a good day to die' in the Dustin Hoffman film 'Little Big Man'. He then goes up to the mountain-top with LBM to die. But then it starts raining and he decides to wait for a better day to die – a brilliant scene :o)

Karpathian16 Mar 2012 1:55 a.m. PST

Hollywood movie Native Americans will always have some sort of mystical knowledge. For example, the Native American always knows the course of events to come from some sign in nature.

Dynaman878916 Mar 2012 2:41 a.m. PST

Take your pick.

up till sometime in the late sixties or early seventies Indians (not called Native Americans then) were always lying, theiving, murderous, drunken neer-do-wells who were a menace to God fearing white men. (With exception for personal sidekicks like Tonto of course)

Ever since the late sixties early seventies Native Americans (no longer called Indians since we all know Indians are from India) are honest, upstanding, harmonious people always menaced by lying, theiving, murderous, drunken neer-do-well white people

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2012 3:13 a.m. PST

Native Americans are more awesome than white folks by several magnitudes.

They exist in perfect symbiosis with nature, have extensive mystic knowledge or even full blown magical powers. They are so badass they could single-handedly take out a company of Marines with a pocket-knife, they have personal spirit animal totems and can ride any random horse without a saddle. They can communicate with animals, plants, rocks, currents in a stream. They can track a ninja five weeks after he crossed over hard rocks despite the area having been hit by floods, mudslides and a hurricane. They have a postive ecological footprint, giving far more to nature than they take from it.

Name anything and they will do it better, more mystically and in tune with nature than any other people in and the nearest 1400-odd galaxies.

RavenscraftCybernetics16 Mar 2012 3:34 a.m. PST
rvandusen16 Mar 2012 4:02 a.m. PST

Perhaps the most common cliche is the "at one with nature" idea that derives more from European ideas of the "Noble Savage" than reality.

The Indians had to impact their surrounding to survive just like anyone else. Slash and burn methods were used to clear fields for maize planting in the northeast, there were large plantations of tobacco, maize, and cotton in the south, not to mention the building of giant mounds,etc. The natives were adapted to their environment, but even they sometimes starved in winter, or suffered other calamities prior to European contact. As usual the situation was more complex than is often assumed.

Toy Soldier Green16 Mar 2012 4:29 a.m. PST

Hand slapping over mouth going "poo echoing pow"

kreoseus216 Mar 2012 4:48 a.m. PST

They can commune with their spirit guides over many light years. See Voyager….

pphalen16 Mar 2012 5:12 a.m. PST

Circling wagons and shooting all of their (limited supply of) ammo into the air…

kreoseus216 Mar 2012 6:07 a.m. PST

Counterclockwise Redeagle. always counterclockwise !

richarDISNEY16 Mar 2012 6:14 a.m. PST

"ug"
"Me trade for firewater."
"Kemosabe"
"woo woo woo woo" Usually done from horeback…
Speaking without prepositions…
beer

21eRegt16 Mar 2012 6:43 a.m. PST

"You smoke'um peace pipe."

"White eyes [fill-in-the-blank]."

MahanMan16 Mar 2012 7:06 a.m. PST

The stereotypical soundtrack that always heralds their entrance; akin to the brassy minor chords in WWII films for the Japanese.

John the OFM16 Mar 2012 7:36 a.m. PST

The music when you see the smoke signal on the high rock on the Desilu back lot?
DUM dum dum dum dum.

Willtij16 Mar 2012 7:50 a.m. PST

The term "It is a good day to die" is usually connected with the term hka-hy but that is incorrect. Hka-hy is a man's exclamation in Sioux roughly meaning "Let's Go!" as when Crazy Horse was to have said, "Let's go (Hka-hy) men, today is a good day to die!", before going into battle.

flooglestreet16 Mar 2012 8:06 a.m. PST

The smoke signals all look the same but have detailed messages. Smoke signals were actually very limited. The patterns were "rally here" "hunt starting" and "medicine man is golfing, take two aspirin and call wensday".

The pattern on TV or the movies is always the lyrics to "Moon river" which means the other signaller is on hold.

Seriously, I think Plains Indians did say "Hau" when agreeing with the previous speaker.

MahanMan16 Mar 2012 8:52 a.m. PST

I like how Patrick O'Brian subverts this in one of his books (where Aubrey and Maturin are prisoners after being captured on HMS Java); Maturin meets a Native American and greets him daily with what is described as "[A] civil 'ugh'", until the NA shocks him by asking him to stop in extremely cultured English.

Porkmann16 Mar 2012 10:13 a.m. PST

youtu.be/yIKU9hzRq6k

Tony Curtis fights any cliche.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2012 10:52 a.m. PST

Native Americans used every part of everything. EVERY. PART.


(Although there was a funny Farside where an Indian is showing this lumpy bit of oddness: the one part of the buffalo they don't know what to do with.)

Cadian 7th16 Mar 2012 11:42 a.m. PST

Cmokman wayezhi….
MyanIt …ke'go

Stronty Girl Fezian16 Mar 2012 12:36 p.m. PST

All Native Americans, regardless of tribe or other cultural grouping, wear Sioux style war bonnets.

All Native Americans, regardless of tribe or other cultural grouping, have totem poles.

All Native Americans, regardless of tribe or other cultural grouping, take scalps.

You can accidentally end up married to a Native American by buying or selling a blanket, hat, horse or other item.

RazorMind16 Mar 2012 12:49 p.m. PST

richardDisney said, "woo woo woo woo" Usually done from horeback…"

Cracked me up, I know it was a typo, but somehow it all fits.

Norman D Landings16 Mar 2012 1:31 p.m. PST

"They are so badass they could single-handedly take out a company of Marines with a pocket-knife"

NOOOOOO!

Native Americans are the worst knife-fighters in cinema history!

1: They NEVER take anybody by surprise. Despite supposed cat-like stealth, anyone leapt on by an Indian will ALWAYS manage to whirl around and get a hand on his knife-arm.

2: Once the intended victim gets a hand on the indians knife-arm, no Native American has EVER won the test-of-strength that follows.
Doesn't matter if the intended victim was an accountant with polio who came West for his health and you're a lifelong scalp-taking coup-counting buffalo-wrestler. Once the white man gets a hand on your knife-arm, he's going to ram your own bowie hilt-deep in yer breadbasket.

Watching from the bushes, your mates would be looking at their knives and going:

"Man, why do we even carry these…?"

"Eeeer…. for killing Mexicans?"

"Oh, yeah, good point. I forgot about that."

kreoseus216 Mar 2012 3:19 p.m. PST

When shot, "Indians" will alway perform a triple sumersault before hitting the ground.

recon3516 Mar 2012 4:04 p.m. PST

All NA also live in teepees, regardless of locale. My favorite. NA were on F Troop…

Pedrobear16 Mar 2012 4:52 p.m. PST

"They exist in perfect symbiosis with nature, have extensive mystic knowledge or even full blown magical powers. They are so badass they could single-handedly take out a company of Marines with a pocket-knife, they have personal spirit animal totems and can ride any random horse without a saddle. They can communicate with animals, plants, rocks, currents in a stream. They can track a ninja five weeks after he crossed over hard rocks despite the area having been hit by floods, mudslides and a hurricane. They have a postive ecological footprint, giving far more to nature than they take from it."

They are Elves!

StarfuryXL516 Mar 2012 6:20 p.m. PST

Native Americans are more awesome than white folks by several magnitudes.

… They are so badass they could single-handedly take out a company of Marines with a pocket-knife, … Name anything and they will do it better, more mystically and in tune with nature than any other people in and the nearest 1400-odd galaxies.

Well, then, a Native American versus Chuck Norris would be an epic battle to watch.

Coelacanth193816 Mar 2012 9:41 p.m. PST

My father's mother was Sioux.

She made very good pies and cakes.

TheCaptainGeneral16 Mar 2012 10:04 p.m. PST

I'm Tlingit… And always get a kick out of how my southern brothers are portrayed in film.

Coelacanth1938: My grandma and mother are also amazing bakers! Haha!

kreoseus217 Mar 2012 12:51 a.m. PST

Well, then, a Native American versus Chuck Norris would be an epic battle to watch

Isnt chuck have NA, half Irish ? It would explain why he is so arsekicking.

ochoin deach17 Mar 2012 4:53 a.m. PST

Isnt chuck have NA, half Irish ? It would explain why he is so arsekicking.

Or why at least half of him is.

Grand Duke Natokina17 Mar 2012 4:49 p.m. PST

R. Mark,
I often Use Chief Dan George's remark as he goes back to the village with Dustin Hoffman:
Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't."

Cadian 7th18 Mar 2012 6:30 a.m. PST

Being native American, I can only think of a few movies where I was not offended or off put..spirit walker?(I think) a dubbed film with an old man who was ready to die, but hanged on long enough to see his long lost twin son and vanquish his old foe( all native cast). Last of the Mohicans uniforms and historical events were off, but Wes Studi was awesome, as were all the other actors within. Little Big Man as others have noted prior, it went a long way to alter old Hollywood.
I can't list dances with wolves, or last of the dogmen because although good….they went entirely into the noble savage route …but at least no "how" or "white man speaks with forked tongue " ;)

ChicChocMtdRifles23 Mar 2012 12:16 p.m. PST

Chucky N does have Cherokee blood(even tho he's from here in Chickasaw Nation). Why do you think he's so Tuff? Tuff is badder than tough.

Yeah, my pet peeve was always about living in teepees. That's white man thoughts.

Mahanman's comment about 'ugh' reminds me of the pilot episode for Daniel Boone when Yadkin peaks broken English to Mingo, who answers in British English. Course, Ed Ames wasn't native, just a non white…

Altius23 Mar 2012 12:58 p.m. PST

Are there other laughable cliches in this genre you'd like to add?

That seemingly every other person in the US will happily tell you he's part Amerindian (usually a great-great-granddaddy who married a chief's daughter), even though DNA results suggests that the actual number is much less than one percent, and is the lowest percentage of any country in the Americas.

Oh, but you're asking about movies, aren't you?

Well, I have to go with what's already been said: That Native Americans pre-1960s are all ignorant thugs and thieves, and post-1960s are all somehow bestowed with mystical powers and that they lived in absolute harmony with nature.

ChicChocMtdRifles27 Mar 2012 6:58 a.m. PST

Sad how things are never represented accurately.

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