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Smoke Signals - Personal Reflection

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:03 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.6 
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For most of my life, the word   “Native American” had immediately made me think of feathers, powwows, and a society uncorrupted by civilization. However, in watching the movie Smoke Signals, a movie that depicts the modern Native American culture, I learned many other things. For one, I learned that many of the customs that modern Native Americans have are very similar to my own. I also saw that the family life of the Native Americans in the film had many of the same problems that my family had undergone in the past years. This film was unlike any that I have ever seen; therefore, it reached me on a very personal level.

The movie Smoke Signals was set in 1998, with reoccurring flashbacks to the 1980’s on the Corde'line Indian reservation. Scenes that were insignificant to the plot, made this movie almost like a documentary of modern Native American culture. For instance, the scene in which Lester Fallsapart reports traffic for KREZ radio showed me that although this society is small, they have news updates and weather reports like other cultures. I also saw that the clothing that the characters wore in this movie were clothes that many people wear, and although the cars they had might not be the best, they were not that behind most Americans, technology wise.  

In addition to learning that the modern Native American culture is not much different than from my own, this movie’s plot reached me on a very personal level. The movie opened with the scene of Arnold Joseph, Victors father, who was drunk and accidentally set a house on fire, killing Thomas’ parents. Luckily, Thomas and Victor were okay; however, Arnold’s problem with alcohol does not stop with this horrible mistake. For years he continued to drink and abuse his wife and son, Victor. When Arnold’s wife could not take it anymore, Arnold left the family and moved far away, missing most of his son’s life. My family has also had this problem. I have never been a victim of child abuse, but my...


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