‘Dances with Wolves’ meets Cherokee

“Christine [a student in Hofstra professor Douglas Brinkley’s experimental six-week cross-country history class] was disheartened. It wasn’t just Cherokee’s Santa Land, where in some weird equivalence Geronimo and Kris Kringle both hand out lollipops to the kids; or the collared black bear cubs in the pits behind Saunooke’s Trading Post, or the FIVE DOLLARS TO MEET A REAL INJUN sign that so dejected her, or even that people paid money to participate in such commerce.

“Some local Cherokee boys in Bugle Boy jeans, NBA basketball T-shirts and Nikes… brought home to her the extent of her Native American fantasies, and she was embarrassed. Fueled by ‘Dances with Wolves,’ she had envisioned the Cherokees as mighty warriors chanting sacred songs and swapping animal stories by a roaring fire. She wanted them to be riding horses, not driving Chevrolets. Instead… the young Cherokees on the reservation were no different from the kids back on Long Island.”

— From “The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey” (1993) by Douglas Brinkley

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