As a Native American I am well aware of all the blatant stereotyping out there. What I like about this movie is the underlayment of good values. Yes, there is the moonshining, and it was illegal and booze has definitely had a detrimental effect on all races of people. However, this just showed that people during those times were really scrapping to keep their lives going. The Grandparents were not sitting around drinking. As with Casinos, they were selling their product to Dominant culture people. No, I am not a drinker and I teach abstinance.A perfect moment if parents are watching with their kids(as they should), to field children's thoughts about it. Do some teaching.
I wonder how many people know that during the Depression when other races of people were just hungry and homeless, Indian peoples across America- some people literally starved to death. On the bottom economically. Only 75 years ago! In our country?
The connection of the people to the land and nature was very evident, but, understated, and they were not stereotyped as turning into mystical beings, but, rather, being one with the beauty around them- poor but rooted there. My humble Grandparents also took me to rock ledges and the woods to pray. Showed reverence for all living things.
Someone has mentioned that characters were stereotyped as typical of mountain people. I would like to say that one of the reasons I like this movie is that I was very moved by the way a filmmaker set down scenes and family interractions that I experienced. There are people still alive who I have known well, who are good nurturing souls like the Grandparents and John Willow. Even now, in Hollers and on country cowpaths, there are folks like these, believe me. So much hurt and antifamily abuse came out of so many Indians going off to Indian boarding schools. But, here and there, and where I am from, there are pockets of country Indians, registered tribal people, living in harmony. Holding us together.
Could have been my grandma's cabin,inside and out, or my adopted Dad and Mom. There was much good said in this movie, and implied, about traditional values of kindness and caring. About family, friends, and how if an Indian child does not have relatives, they are given relatives and taken care of. The Ongoing, the future of the community. Closeness to the land.
I marvel that the author of the book from which this movie is loosely adapted, had dubious racial ties. I do not support the KKK in anyway, but, the movie reflects the moviemakers,not the book author, and I do not believe that people like American Indian stars Tantoo Cardinal and Graham Greene would have supported a movie that they did not find worthy. Blessings and Balance.