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Noah Webster the Man Who Loved Words

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"Little Big Man" (1970). Directed by Authur Penn. Based on a novel by Thomas Berger, Screenplay by Calder Willingham. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, and Chief Dan George.

"Cheyenne Autumn"(1964). Directed by John Ford. Written by Mari Sandoz. Screenplay by James R. Webb. Based on the novel "The Last Frontier" by Howard Fast. Starring Richard Widmark and Carroll Baker.

The depiction of the Native American in movies has evolved over time. In the early years of movies we are told Indians are blood thirsty savages. As time goes by they are portrayed as victims of the white man. Native American roles continued to develop into just regular people with a more spiritual way of living. All of these depictions can be accurate as a perception of who was writing and directing the movie itself. The good thing is that now Native Americans are making their own movies and giving their perception of things. Although we can criticize the way they are portrayed it is more productive to study the art of the film and note the way things have progressed for Native Americans. In "Little Big Man" we are given many scenes that progress the character roles of the Native Americans and watching "Cheyenne Autumn" we can appreciate the beautiful shots of the scenery and enjoy the speeches of confession and apology that the director is trying to put forth. Each of these is an interesting interpretation of what non-Native Americans think that Native Americans are thinking, who they are and what they represent.

The characters in "Little Big Man" that have the most meaningful relationship throughout the film are Old Lodge Skins and Jack. Old Lodge Skins is Jack's father figure and shapes Jack's personality to become mentally aware of the true nature of things are. When Jack saves the life of Younger Bear Old Lodge Skins gives Jack his Cheyenne name of Little Big Man, he is small in stature but his bravery makes him big. Throughout the movie Jack always is taken away from Old Lodge Skins but eventually returns to the side of this chief. Many of the decisions Jack makes are due to the teachings that Old Lodge Skins has instilled in him.

In "Cheyenne Autumn" the two characters that stand out are the school teacher known as Deborah Wright and "Spanish Woman". As Deborah Wright goes through the movie we see her as a teacher and "Spanish Woman" as her helper. With this in mind we expect Deborah to teach the Native Americans something. What really happens is "Spanish Woman" seems to teach Deborah instead. As the tribe travels across the country Deborah sits with one of the children that was injured and the child draws a stick drawing of an animal "Spanish Woman" tells Deborah that it is a buffalo and that the history of the buffalo's migration. The roles of Deborah and "Spanish Women" seem to be the teacher gets taught by the helper therefore making the roles somehow reversed.

In "Little Big Man" the portrayal of Native

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