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TDGE131 FINAL. Indigenous Cinema. Dual Response to Stereotypes (Essay Sample)


                                                     Final Paper Prompt
5-8 pages (including bibliography), 12 pt. font, double-spaced, following MLA formatting style.
Final Paper due: March 18st 2020, no later than 7pm via Turnitin (see link on Canvas)
Paper prompt:
For your final paper, choose 2 of the following films.
Collective: Correcting the Chalkboard .
Real Jr. Leblanc (Innu): Uprooted Generation.
Real Jr. Leblanc (Innu): Earthquake.
Melissa Mollen Dupuis (Innu): Nanapush and the Turtle.
Kevin Papatie (Anishnabe), The Amendment.
Write a persuasive essay in which you compare and contrast these two films and reflect on the following questions (you do not have to answer all questions, this is to get you going):
How are these films challenging/resisting/ harnessing the concept of the “Imaginary Indian” or what Neil Diamond refers to as “the Reel Injun” in his film? How are images, sound, and/or words employed by these filmmakers to challenge stereotypes? To confront audiences?
NOTE :The “Imaginary Indian” is a revealing history of the "Indian" image mythologized by popular Canadian culture since 1850, propagating stereotypes that exist to this day.
Stereotypes even when they seem positive actively erode Native sovereignty. Their totalizing constructions focus on a temporally and geographically limited idea of culture to the exclusion of contemporary and heterogeneous political economic and aesthetic elements of Native American life.
Films that romanticize and or demonize Indigenous peoples as either purely noble or entirely evil
participate in situating them outside of the complexity of real life. 
For example : "Avatar" Indigenous people as pure-hearted aliens / "Twilight" Indigenous people as a pack of werewolves that is as a fictional people on the same footing as vampires
NOTE: Can Movies Change Stereotypes/Tropes?
•Scholars speak of transient nature of the change. Films alone may not change society but can work in synergy with education and other mainstream narratives to change perceptions.
What kind of “aesthetic diplomacy” (to borrow from Michelle Raheja’s concept) are these films performing? In other words, to what end are these filmmakers using the art of filmmaking? Are they acting as bridging device? Are they performing a form of ethnographic refusal (see Audra Simpson)?
NOTE : "ethnographical refusal " BY Audra Simpson : It means that Indigenous cinema's main goal is not to explain Indigenous folks to non-Indigenous audiences.
How are these films exploring the concept of “survivance”?
NOTE : “survivance”: terms coined by Anishinaabe writer/scholar Gerald Vizenor.
Survivance is more than mere survival it is the dynamic inventive enduring heart of Native cultures.
Vizenor argues that popular culture is enamored with the figure of the tragic Indian but that survivance not tragedy defines Native cultures.
How are these films carving spaces of “visual sovereignty”?
NOTE : Concept of Visual Sovereignty 
relate to the concept of 4th Cinema: term coined by Mãori filmmaker Barry Barclay to describe Indigenous cinema. It destabilizes predominantly white male Eurocentric historical perspective that erases or rewrites the histories of those marginalized by dominant power systems
Promotes intellectual health on at least 2 critical registers:
- By appealing to mass intergenerational and transnational Indigenous audience visual sovereignty
permits the flow of Indigenous knowledge about key issues land rights, language, etc. which narrativizes local and international struggles.
- "Visual sovereignty" as expressed by Indigenous filmmakers  involves the employment of editing technologies that permit filmmakers to stage performances of oral narrative and Indigenous notions of time and space that are not possible through print alone.
As you write, use specific examples (images, scenes, sounds, words) from the film. It will help your essay and make it more convincing. Furthermore, draw from at least one of the assigned readings to support your analysis, using proper in-text citations. Failure to do so will impact your grade.
For example: 
As Michelle Raheja argues in her book Reservation Reelism, redfacing “signals the ways in which the work of Indigenous performers, like that of a trickster, is always in motion and therefore creates acts that operate ambiguously, acts that open themselves up for further reading and interpretation” (Raheja 21). I argue that in the scene between X and Y, a form of redfacing takes place when…
A note on plagiarism: READ CAREFULLY.
Every year, students plagiarize, some consciously and some because they are not aware of proper citation practices. If you are unclear about what counts as plagiarism, consult this webpage:
Please consult it thoroughly and ask questions if you remain uncertain about what might count as academic dishonesty. Find here a list of consequences for cheating and keep in mind that the university requires me to apply them and report you.


Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
Indigenous Cinema
There is a huge collection of films depicting the themes around which indigenous cultures are revolving in America. The movies that I have chosen to compare and contrast in this essay include "Correcting the Chalkboard" and "Earthquake" (Wapikoni; Leblanc). In both these movies, the filmmakers have highlighted key issues faced by the indigenous in today's American culture with a focus on their generalized depiction. To reinforce the messages, the filmmakers have relied on precise coordination of sound and other effects. The movies are aimed at resisting and challenging the stereotypes that prevailed among non-indigenous cultures about native ones. However, a close look reveals that filmmakers are unable to avoid a positive bias and romanticism that puts a question mark on the realness of their adaptation of indigenous cultures.
Dual Response to Stereotypes
There are two types of frequent practices among filmmakers with regard to the depiction of indigenous people. Either they overly exalt them to a heroic and angelic level, or they present an entirely evil version of them to which no positive features can be attributed (Marubbio and Buffalohead 15). Both these types of depictions are regarded as romanticism which removes the indigenous people from the complexities of real-life (Pearson and Knabe 71). The realness exists in between these two extremes.

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