Once in a while, a documentary comes along and just blows you away with its in-depth research, incredible scenic shots, and something that just hits you right in the jaw with its truths of life. I think that those types of documentaries should be renamed for their sock-it-to-you style and call them sockumentaries.
I believe that an upcoming documentary in the works, “Reel Injun” by the famed Neil Diamond, fits into this sock-it-to-ya category. It’s about our people in the movies and some not-so-real Indians played by many famous and not-so-famous actors throughout the history of cinema.
Many years ago, when things were all in black-and-white – before colour was invented – white men played all the roles of every race. They even played black people with black-and-white paint on their faces, because… who knows.
I have a theory that since everything was in black-and-white, colour didn’t matter, so everything good was in white and everything black was bad. Everyone who was bad, couldn’t act anyways, so everyone knew it was make believe anyways. Whoever heard of wagon-burning today? Apparently, many people have and they have tried to correct the politically incorrect and colour-blind masses who saw things in black-and-white.
It was called progress, and finally, black people played black people in the movies. The same goes for supporting roles as actors for us Redskins. As usual, leading roles were only played by the fairer-skinned ones. But that was because the whole industry started turning towards the money market, and making profitable movies made more sense.
With nearly all traces of segregation erased from North American society, movies have started reflecting this reality, by using real Indians, real black people, and real Chinese in the starring roles. Now we occupy positions in nearly every trade within the film industry, people who can make the total film, without the moniker of Aboriginal or Native to help sell what we created for the masses.
Using today’s technology, most history lessons have been revamped to show that Custer did get his at Little Big Horn, that Eskimos are Inuit, and that Chicago means skunk. Aired regularly on the Discovery and History channels, we First Nations are given the chance to tell our own stories using television and cinema.
Moviemakers have been around for over a century, and only recently have all languages and films from around the world can easily be understood with subtitles. No doubt they watch our movies with the same interest as we do theirs, with the sense of watching a documentary from another country. But, today, moviemakers are pretty well on par with each other when it comes to low-budget pictures, but it’s the story that sets them apart from other documentaries.
As for “Reel Injun”? It sounds like it will hit the sockumentary level and must be watched with all your children so they can learn about what their parents and grandparents were fed as entertainment, when cowboys were the good guys and Injuns were the bad guys.