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Bad Eagle Journal

Is Redford Indian-Friendly?

by David Yeagley · January 12, 2005 · 11 Comments ·

Does Robert Redford have a positive interest in American Indians, or does the Sundance Institute simply use Indians to insure its political correctness quotas, market its authenticity, and validate its anti-American agenda?

In the decade of serious, radical civil rights issues, and the development of the American Indian Movement, Redford starred in Jeremiah Johnson (1972), a film about a mountain man who kills Indians or marrys them, whatever suits his fancy or personal circumstance. Indians are just tools in the narrative. The movie also features one fat Indian ‘warrior’ who acts scared to death and runs like a scared woman. Redford comes off as a tough guy, tougher than Indians, with full rights to sleep with Indian women. Big conqueror image there, on a personal basis. Lot’s of “squaw” language going on there, too.

‘Kill that wild savage!’ from Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Doesn’t sound Indian-friendly to me.

Oh, yes, there’s the Incident at Oglala (1992), the drama in defense of Leonard Peltier, the convicted murderer of two FBI agents. Redford is the narrator and executive producer. The film celebrates the victimhood of Peltier, and aggrandizes the evil of the American government. I suppose that’s an interest in Indians shown by Mr. Redford, naturally in a way that is critical of America. That suits the communist, Hollywood liberal approach. They love to rake in America’s money, while they soothe their consciences with condemning the society from which they benifit so profoundly. It’s like Incident at Oglala is Redford’s tribute to the ’70’s, perhaps a twenty years later penance for Jeremiah Johnson.

Still not Indian-friendly, in my view. It’s Redford-friendly.

Hey, liberals love to use Indians to bash America. The California Peace and Freedom Party nominated Peltier for president! I call that abuse of Indians.

Redford’s Sundance Institute makes a glowing profession of “commitment” to Native American film, to directors, writers, musicians, actores, etc., etc., but we’re still looking for evidence. Where are the American Indian movies? Never mind the fact that the program does not produce screen plays or films; never mind the fact that Bird Runningwater, who directs the Sundance Native American Initiative, is openly homosexual, and advocates the same kind of hemispheric “indigenous” philosophy that characterizes the anti-American racism of the far Left–that wants to pit all persons of color against the white European; never mind that the whole Institute program is just a grant operation, to allow certain select Indians to network, and perhaps to occasion their meeting with some monied producer who might take a chance on an “independent” film. It’s like a tutorial, an “educational” opportunity for a very few select Indians. Robert Redford is simply not into producing American Indian films. The Sundance Institute merely uses the Indian presence to validate its multicultural, anti-American enterprises. Now that George Soros has joined the crew, can we expect more abuse of Indians? That is, more use of Indians to condemn America? I would expect so.

Bird Runningwater

The Sundance Institute represents a liberal, yes, communist use of the American Indian. The Institute uses the Indian image to emphasize what they think is wrong with America. I see no other way to evaluate these circumstances. Again, I protest this dangerous abuse of Indians, and pledge myself to work against it with all the force I can muster. I will not stand by silently and watch the Indian image used against America, thus jeopardizing the future of not only America, but of Indian people.

Bad Eagle has spoken.

Posted by David Yeagley · January 12, 2005 · 10:16 am CT · ·

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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bodvar // Jan 12, 2005 at 10:42 am   

    (I posted this below to the LAST blog subject, just as it came up to its wear-out date. Not one to hid my light under a bushel, and being a keen blogosphere environmentalist, I thought I’d RECYCLE the blog, this and the last subjects being close parallels.)

    Allow me to encapsulate, if only for myself:

    There can’t be a Nyack Indians, or a Tuscaloosa Braves, a Waxahatchie Red Heathen Devils, or a Paducah Warriors (if feathers are involved) in any publically-financed institution in the country. It’s largely a NON-ISSUE involving a few activists who prey upon the better natures of those who would rather not offend. It’s an old story.

    Now, Dr. Y points out that “Sundance” is being used by a leftist icon, and he gets a pass. There aren’t any icons, there’s that whole bit about “Sun Dance or Sundance” and “he played that, that, that GUY in the movies”, and all accompanying obfuscatory noise. Still, they’re parallel issues…and, frankly, are equally non-issues.

    The issues important to Native America are sovereignty, treaty observance, and many reservation health issues, not how suburban sports teams or pampered Hollywood has-beens decorating or promoting themselves. If these aren’t Native America’s issues, they ought to be.

    Still, what I think Dr. Y is pointing to — or, what it points to for me — is a rather naked double standard. It’s OK for one of their guys to use Native imagery or verbiage, but not for general society. Sweep all mentions of “squaw” from maps, even if nobody’s ever been hurt by being called a squaw. Get rid of Cleveland’s “Chief Wahoo”. Force Washington football fans to cheer for anything but the “Redskins” (“Redsticks”, maybe, he suggests ironically).

    But, for heaven’s sake, “circle the wagons” when it comes to saying anything against the guy who’s promoting “independent” films, many of which are ideologically lock-step and degrading of human culture.

    (Sorry about the “circle the wagons” crack, but I couldn’t resist).

    Nope…give him a pass because he’s successful AND leftist. While you’re at it, give Soros a pass, too. He’s just a kindly old grandfather, after all.

    — B

    (PS: “Bad Eagle has spoken?” Harrumph! Sort of over-heated, isn’t it?) — B

  • 2 David Yeagley // Jan 12, 2005 at 10:58 am   

    Sorry for the inconvenience, Bodvar. I’ve discovered incredible info on the whole “Sundance” issue. I’ll be bloggin more and more on it, because it is far, far worse than I even suspected. I’ve upturned a rock, underwhich many a worm writhes.

    (I have a chamber music piece for oboe, viola, and bassoon, entitled, “The Writhing of Earth Worms Under an Uplifted Rock.” Suppposed to be performed, in part, this February.)

    Yes, I’m a dramatist! Only I’m not Leftist about it. I’m on the opposite side, the lean and mean side, where there is no money, no success, and nothing but sacrifice.

    I’M the real sun dancer!

    I will demonstrate how utterly dictatorial these Leftists are, demanding their privileges, while denying others the same. They use the Indian image to validate THEIR agenda, and they don’t want it used for anything that opposed them.

    They shall feel the full force force of the truth here, in due time.

    Bad Eagle has spoken, again!

  • 3 WanderingNative // Jan 12, 2005 at 2:06 pm   

    Um, Yeagly, our tribe only Sun Danced once, ever. And unless you’ve actually gone through Sun Dance ceremony, to make a claim that you are a real Sun Dancer is both ridiculous and insulting to people who have gone through Sun Dance (not me, not part of our Comanche identity or heritage so I don’t do it.)

  • 4 David Yeagley // Jan 12, 2005 at 5:56 pm   

    Wandering Native, I appreciate your concerns. However, this has little to do with the “space” in which you dwell. Anyone who knows anything about Indians knows Comanche held only one experimental sun dance, which proved, shall we say, ineffective. (Late May, of 1874.) For you to appear here and say such a thing is like reminding the Pope he’s catholic. Besides, there ARE a few Comanches today who participate. I know at least one personally. And no, I don’t participate, either.

    If you wish to assert some kind of “Indian” authority, please do so, but don’t under-estimate the knowledge of the audience of this site. This reflects on you, more than the host. For you to take my metaphor literally shows the narrow land where your spirit dwells.

    This isn’t about Comanche tradition. And this is not really about northern plains tradition either. This is about Indian values across America, and about protecting the use of Indian images for pro-American values, not anti-American values.

    We have to consider the bigger picture now. Northern plains traditions have shaped the public image of the American Indian more than anything except John Wayne’s perpetual battles with the Comanche! It is not inappropriate for me to address the effects of a different tribe on the public image of the Indian.

    You’re response is myopic and inutile. It’s not inaccurate, but you’re aiming at a different target altogether, namely, me, as usual.

  • 5 Nadine // Jan 12, 2005 at 8:24 pm   

    ***NOTE: reposting what I typed over in that last blog subject (aka “Sundance Institute”)***

    Journal Weblog
    Comments: Redford’s Mascot
    Doc, I still don’t see the problem. I mean, if an Indian person’s work is good enough, it shouldn’t matter whether or not he is Indian. Let him compete with everybody else, NOT on the basis of race.

    This reminds me of that HBO Special last year entitled “Project Greenlight”, which lasted for about 6 weeks or so, wherein Ben Affleck & Matt Damon set out to find that special script. In doing so, they read thousands that were sent in either by mail or via the internet from people all over the US. And from there, they selected the Final 6 Contestants. One of them being an American Indian man btw. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut (great try though; hope he doesn’t give up) . Two co-writers did. And by doing so, their script was chosen to be made into a movie, funded by Ben Affleck & Matt Damon & their people. Also, they made a deal with HBO to document the entire process ~ FASCINATING ~ loved it! Hope they do another one this coming summer. (:^)

    Peace, Nadine

    Posted by Nadine at January 12, 2005 08:03 PM

  • 6 Kidist // Jan 13, 2005 at 6:24 am   


    The first time I looked into the Sundance website, I was surprised to find a whole category called “Native American”. It kind of goes with the Sundance theme, doesn’t it? And if Redford was so concerned about America, why doesn’t he also (in Liberal fashion) have an African American program as well?

    Anyway, about the “squaw” language; in all of Redford’s films that I’ve watched, he never once gets the (white) girl. It is very strange. So I wonder about this disrespect for Indian women.

  • 7 Wendy Johnson // Jan 13, 2005 at 11:22 am   

    Dr. Yeagley,

    This sounds more like a contest over whose images and idolatry should prevail in the media: anti-Americanism or pro-Americanism, which in turn can each be divided into even more images and idolatries to accommodate diversified personal persuasions within the two camps. Amid efforts to outdo one another as Americans (or, if you please, as a global community), we are negatively affected by our increased dependence upon fantasy and images to tell us about our world. This is idolatry. Both liberal and conservative lose their way with this approach and stay lost. You can’t find a cure if you simply address the symptoms. We must turn to God from idols.

  • 8 David Yeagley // Jan 13, 2005 at 12:00 pm   

    Wendy, I don’t dispute at all what you say here.

    I do think there is a realm, called “politics,” which is the pragmatic, stinking reality where the rubber meets the road. In America, as opposed to 1st century Rome, we have the right to vote, to work for change, to defend, etc. It is called freedom, in the political process. I don’t think it is effort amiss to be involved.

    I will shortly clarify why I have taken up this Sundance issue. It is a political issue, a political tool, used in a political war, against a political enemy.

    The wrong politics can make the difference between being a free Christian, or a persecuted Christian. If you have a choice, wouldn’t you prefer to be free?

    The Left wants your freedom. One has to attack the Left where it is, wherever it is, and however it disguises itself.

  • 9 Wendy Johnson // Jan 13, 2005 at 12:45 pm   

    Dr. Yeagley,

    You cannot obtain freedom and maintain freedom by politics. Witness our own country’s loss of freedoms, perceived by both sides. It is actually a communist teaching to say that only government (politics) can in reality grant, or limit, our freedom. At every level, our freedom comes from God, and is restricted by God. Our American forefathers knew this, and is well documented in earlier American government writings. The Christian knew this before America ever existed.

    I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to point out that the Jews of the first century also made use of politics, yet remained an occupied people because that is what the Lord (Jehovah) had laid down for them for that time in history (due to their own idolatry adopted from their neighbor nations) earlier by the prophets. They also reasoned that the system can be used to further their own personal spiritual and carnal persuasions. The main ones mentioned were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Herodians. I am sure they were all fully persuaded that the system must be worked, but they were all rebuked by the Lord Jesus, saying to one of them, that they were blind leaders of the blind.

    It is cynical, to first embrace a seemingly Christian value system and then fall back on idolatry as though (in almost a fatalistic way) that were a necessary tool to obtain your goal. Endless accusations within the political arena, with no real desire for God, is leading us down a blind alley. Politics is indeed a reality, like sin; but God has provided the answer to enslavement to sin (and its resulting politics) in Jesus Christ. We don’t need politics; we need Jesus only.

  • 10 David Yeagley // Jan 13, 2005 at 1:52 pm   

    What about the right to vote, which we have, and the earlier cultures did not? This is the only serious thing I learned from Yale: if you have a right to influence government, you MUST. American fathers also well knew that if citizens were not involved, they would inevitably surrender freedom to tyrants. You know, all that it takes for evil men to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

    Whatever God “grants” to men, unless mean are willing to shed blood over it, it is quickly taken from them. I’ve heard your position many times in the Christian political circles I visit. Freedom comes from God, they say. My response: on this earth, unless men pay the cost in blood, they do NOT have freedom.

    To say God designs for man to have freedom is one thing; to say that He grants it, is quite another.

    Again, it comes down to this: do you want to be a free Christian, or a persecuted Christian? If you want freedom, you have to be political, yes, even violent, or you will not have it. It will be taken from you, if you do have it.

    How can you basque in inherited freedom, and not be willing to protect or fight for it?

    Yet, fighting for freedom is not at all the same as fighting for Christ. I realize that. These are two different things. I should think a Christian would want freedom to be a Christian, not freedom to be a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Satanist. That’s politicizing freedom.

    There are places in this world, South Asia being one of them, where Christians are murdered, slaughter–for being Christian. If you are in a country that does not destory Christians, then you must realize that at some point in history, politics and war created that freedom for your Christianity. Otherwise, you might be hiding out in caves.

  • 11 Wendy Johnson // Jan 13, 2005 at 2:24 pm   

    Dr. Yeagley,

    The biggest pitfall in modern American thinking, on the part of both parties, is that the Vote will save us. The Vote comes from the American heart, and hearts first need to be changed to be alive to God. To remain unchanged is to be enslaved to sin, and therefore to whatever political system pleases that unchanged heart, a blind alley.

    Men have not always paid the cost in blood when confronted by their enemy. See the scriptures telling of Israel’s battles where the enemy was literally slain without the blood of any Israelite. God definitely is in charge of the deliverance department, whether blood is shed or not. Shedding of our own blood is not a guarantee of a victory in a battle or eventual winning of freedom. We did not obtain our own freedom in the Revolutionary War. That was clear to our first American leaders.

    It is not a matter of do I want to be a free Christian or a persecuted Christian. I want to be a Christian (in Christ), period. Where I am or what the situation is, is beside the point. Those who work with persecuted Christians, by the way, have often reported that the persecuted ones are concerned for the spiritual condition of us “safe” ones here in the U.S. And that’s not just misguided on their part, either.

    David the king did hide out in caves, and he got pretty tired of it too. But he went on to become king of Israel, like he was anointed by God through his prophet to do, and also obtained the eternal promise that his heir (Jesus) would sit on his throne forever. Christians know that Jesus Christ is coming back to do just that, and very soon, too. I’ll take the cave.

    Dr. Yeagley, this exchange all came about because I pointed out you were first praising Christian practices and then falling back on idolatry to make your way. You are, from what I can tell, doing the very same thing you are criticizing the institute for doing: using a particular group to further your political philosophy and goals. It’s a dead end.

    I’m afraid all we can do is go back and forth on this endlessly, since you are apparently not of the same mind. I’m sure I will check your columns from time to time, but I don’t think I’ll make any more input. I have said all that I wish to say. Thank you for your time.

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