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  • Boycott Gibson & Disney Co. racist movie Apoclypto Article 2

    'Apocalypto' is upon us
    Posted: December 08, 2006
    by: J.K. Dowell

    Mel Gibson's ''Apocalypto,'' a movie about human sacrifice among the ancient Maya, premiered Dec. 1 at Chickasaw Nation's Riverwind Casino amidst Hollywood-style hoopla. Oklahoma Indian actors have been wooed by director Mel Gibson and are about to make a big splash on the big screen with the potential for even bigger and better roles for Natives in film.

    I understand Gibson's claim that the movie is about a society's excesses and the costs of war (the movie has been billed as an anti-war film). I can stand with him on those aspects. But what message is ''Apocalypto'' really sending about the Native peoples of Mexico and Central America? This is but one thing we Indian people in the North must consider and question before we jump on Gibson's bandwagon.

    I have been to Central America. I have visited the Maya in their homes where I saw mountains of beautiful fruits and vegetables being grown, not for Mayan consumption, but for export, most likely to the United States. The Maya could not eat those fruits of their labor. They cannot afford to. In the village I visited, the Maya shared a communal kitchen where most days the women cooked meals of beans and tortillas because that is what the family's hard labor in the fields afford them.

    I heard the cries of women whose husbands had been ''disappeared'' and murdered by government troops or by paramilitaries. In Guatemala they are struggling to recover after almost 40 years of civil war incited by the 1954 CIA overthrow of a democratic government, subsequently wiping from the face of the earth 140 Mayan villages. The Maya fled to bordering countries and some were held in death camps for removal, much like our own ancestors' Trails of Tears. This is contemporary history.

    The extreme, impoverished lives most Mayans live are not due to the ''excesses of their ancestors,'' as stated in a recent ''20/20'' special on ABC. It is due rather to the institutionalized racism of the church, military and government, which could not recognize our own Indian ancestors as human, justifying their wholesale slaughter, Christian conversion via boarding schools and the taking of our lands.

    Before we rush to pat Gibson on the back we should understand that the same religious, government, military and corporate institutions that systematically conspired to take our lands and destroy our culture here in the North also had a hand in the demise of the ancient and contemporary Maya people. When the Spaniards invaded Central America in the 16th century, ancient Maya texts were burned so that the people would forget their history and a new history, more palatable to Europeans, could replace it.

    Because my community work gives me the opportunity to occasionally network with indigenous peoples from below the U.S.-imposed border with Mexico, I am aware that some Maya people are not happy with this film. This pretty much answers the question why Gibson chose to hire North American Indians, making it necessary to teach them a Mayan language. If the film was welcomed by the Maya, he could have hired Maya people, since the film was made in their territories.

    How will a film, which depicts the Maya as bloodthirsty primitives, impact their work, their lives, their image and our perception of them? What impacts will that portrayal have on the people in power who have an obligation to make policy for the Maya in Mexico or Guatemala, or elsewhere in Central America, where most policy is implemented at the business end of a gun?

    Because we have a genetic, cultural and historical relationship with all the peoples of Turtle Island, we have an obligation to view this film with discerning eyes and a critical mind. The movie opened nationally on Dec. 8. We can use this as an opportunity for raising consciousness and educating about our commonalities with the indigenous peoples from below the border.

    For instance, do you know that in some of those countries indigenous peoples comprise 40 percent to 80 percent of the population? In the case of the Maya, a lot, if not most, speak Maya as their first language. The women still dress in the traditional huipil. In Chiapas, where the Maya communities are occupied by the Mexican government (with aid from the United States), a large part of the region's resources are sucked out from under the Mayas' feet to generate electrical power for the rest of the country while the Chiapas Maya live without running water or electricity.

    We should remember that some of the brown people coming across the lower border as ''illegals'' are probably Maya, or descendants of other Native nations. To justify atrocities against Native peoples (and to manipulate the citizenry into looking the other way), the elite have historically sought ways to portray us as less than human.

    Let's make this an opportunity to learn more about contemporary Mayan struggles as well as the current struggles of Indian communities throughout the Americas. They are among the thousands of indigenous peoples who are going to the international community to seek redress for their grievances.

    As we watch this new movie, we are obligated to do so with an informed mind. Our history is the Mayan history.

    J.K. Dowell, Quapaw/Cherokee, is founder and director of the Eagle and Condor Indigenous Peoples' Alliance and lives in Tahlequah, Okla.

  • #2
    thanks for posting... has anyone actually wasted the money to see this?
    I became a singer because I love to sing... and to feed my addiction to cough drops!

    Comment


    • #3
      Not me. I have some good friends that are Mayan and the nicest term I can use to describe their reaction that the forums will allow about this schlock from Gibson is outraged!

      Comment


      • #4
        I haven't paid to see a Disney movie, since they "took poetic license" with the last animated Pochahontas. In fact, I haven't see a disney movie in years. I won't be starting with this one. I think Mel can bend over and kiss his shoes (and career) goodbye.
        Take nothing for granted. Life can change irrevocably in a heartbeat.

        I will not feed the troll-well, I will try.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RedShield
          thanks for posting... has anyone actually wasted the money to see this?
          We went and saw it today. My husband and son liked the gore. We were all disappointed with it though. If he was trying to portray native culture, he failed. If he was just wanting to get reaction to all the blood and gore, he succeeded. I would not watch it again, and I would suggest people not to waste their money, wait until it comes out on video if you want to see it. WW

          Comment


          • #6
            i don't think you can ever expect a hollywood movie to be totally truthfull.
            there is always exaggeration. i don't expect Apocolypto to be a substitute for a college course...
            mel gibson has made too many other hateful and prejudice comments against other groups for me to want to spend any money on him.
            I'll pass on this one.
            There is only one success; to be able to live your life in your own way.

            Comment


            • #7
              Dont judge unless you know what you are talking about. I think it would be better to bash a movie that you have seen and be completely informed about instead of pre-judging based on what others say, or by what certain media companies or film makers have done in the past. I mean, how are you going to compare this movie to other movies made about the Mayan culture, which, for most white americans, is gone? Oh, wait...what other movies about the Mayan culture. I mean, honestly, can ANY of us say exactly HOW the Mayan culture played out back in the day? I'll reserve my judgement for when I see it, and I do plan on seeing because I need to know for myself if this movie is a harm or a help to Native people. I think that the last thing Native people need to do is ignore important lessons we can learn when we watch movies made by people outside of our culture. We need to be able judge our own success in enlightening other cultures and races about OUR TRUTHS. The Mayan people NOW have an avenue to speak out against potential oversights and misconceptions about their story and the portrayal of their culture. Mel Gibson may have gotten some things wrong, or overstepped a boundary while making the movie....but how are we to know if we dont see it?? Our own people had the opportunity to correct things when Pocahontas was made....we also had a chance to be proud that our cultures were not being ignored and pushed aside as ancient history. Any form of media is not to be taken at full face value....and Mel Gibson is known for his filmmaking that causes minds to churn and acknowledge certain aspects of the humanity we all share. Lets at least be fair in judging him for his accomplishments, rather than his human frailties and personal demons.

              Wocus Woman...thank you for giving an honest and informed decision.....lol .....had to laugh at what you said about your men liking the gore! I know the men in our family dont consider a movie a "real" movie unless there is one carcass around! gross....
              Ipsica Waci
              Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lakota Wiyan
                Dont judge unless you know what you are talking about. I think it would be better to bash a movie that you have seen and be completely informed about instead of pre-judging based on what others say, or by what certain media companies or film makers have done in the past. I mean, how are you going to compare this movie to other movies made about the Mayan culture, which, for most white americans, is gone? Oh, wait...what other movies about the Mayan culture. I mean, honestly, can ANY of us say exactly HOW the Mayan culture played out back in the day? I'll reserve my judgement for when I see it, and I do plan on seeing because I need to know for myself if this movie is a harm or a help to Native people. I think that the last thing Native people need to do is ignore important lessons we can learn when we watch movies made by people outside of our culture. We need to be able judge our own success in enlightening other cultures and races about OUR TRUTHS. The Mayan people NOW have an avenue to speak out against potential oversights and misconceptions about their story and the portrayal of their culture. Mel Gibson may have gotten some things wrong, or overstepped a boundary while making the movie....but how are we to know if we dont see it?? Our own people had the opportunity to correct things when Pocahontas was made....we also had a chance to be proud that our cultures were not being ignored and pushed aside as ancient history. Any form of media is not to be taken at full face value....and Mel Gibson is known for his filmmaking that causes minds to churn and acknowledge certain aspects of the humanity we all share. Lets at least be fair in judging him for his accomplishments, rather than his human frailties and personal demons.

                Wocus Woman...thank you for giving an honest and informed decision.....lol .....had to laugh at what you said about your men liking the gore! I know the men in our family dont consider a movie a "real" movie unless there is one carcass around! gross....
                Thanks Lakota Wiyan ---- Your words ring true. I've seen the movie, know Rudy personally, met Mr. Gibson. And you know what, I know that they weren't trying to hurt, degrade, or make any REAL statement about anything. Mr. Gibson wanted to make a movie about the Myan culture, he did....but remember it is a MOVIE. It's not any worse than Chainsaw, any of the hunt 'em down and kill 'em movies out there. The photography and filming are awesome, the countryside is fabulous and the acting by Rudy and others is great. The fact that it is subtitled in English is done well also. At least you get to hear their language! All I ask is that you go see the movie for yourself, before you make some stand on what is right or wrong. Remember, 99% of history for indians was written by whites...............does that tell you anything???

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just want to add, my comments etc. on this movie have nothing to do with the beautiful nakedness of the actors. That was the only good thing about the movie. Yes, I'm a closet perve when it comes to naked NA actors who are running around in all their glory.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Idid want to see this movie and still do want to see the movie, although I will wait for it to come out on DVD, the affordable format, me being FBI and all.

                    I could have sworn though, by looking at the previews that it was about Aztecs. I mean the stuff they wear in the movie is a dead ringer for the firedancers I have seen at pow wows.

                    Derek
                    I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I also have many Mayan Friends. Hell, I have been to the great pyramids of the Mayans and Aztec and I even hiked up the great Incan site of Machu Picchu in 2001 on one of those Learning Abroad/Overseas/Adventure Summer Student Programs. This movie is very accurate and should be to any of Mayan Culture. Remember - it is a presention of ONLY one part of Mayan Culture and at ONE MOMENT in Mayan Culture.

                      The Mayan Empire was great with Art, Music, Science, Math, Architecture, and incredible Engineering. Hell their mathmatical calendar was more accurate than anything the white man had until the invention of the atomic clock!!!! BUT like all cultures and empires some parts of the Great Mayan Culture were not pretty at all and this film happens to show that part.

                      If you do a movie on the Great Science, Art, Music, Math, Engineering and more of the Mayans, it would just be another documentary like PBS or the History Channel and nobody would pay to go and see it.

                      Instead Gibson made a historical movie about the non-pretty parts of the the Great Mayan Culture. If you want to see the other parts of the Great Mayan Culture then watch one of the many (really there are lots) documentaries made by dozens of production companies.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SAC View Post

                        Instead Gibson made a historical movie about the non-pretty parts of the the Great Mayan Culture. If you want to see the other parts of the Great Mayan Culture then watch one of the many (really there are lots) documentaries made by dozens of production companies.
                        So based on your study of the culture, is Gibson's movie an accurate portrayal?
                        Do you think that by focusing on the dark side of the culture will the general public think of all the technological achievements? or just think of them as brutal savages?
                        Last edited by outershell; 01-22-2007, 02:37 PM. Reason: spelling
                        There is only one success; to be able to live your life in your own way.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes

                          Yes, the movie is historically accurate - please we must all think and realize that this movie is just “one small splice” of life in “one moment in time” of the Great Mayan Culture.

                          As for people not seeing all the wonders of the Great Mayan Culture - I don’t' buy that. They have had plenty of chances. Documentary after documentary and part documentaries of the Mayan have been done by National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, A&E, Food Network and more, - and that does not even count more documentaries done by private production companies and foreign production companies. Information on the wonders of the Mayan Culture have been out there for a very, very long time.

                          But with all that great information, people wait until a movie showing only one non pretty part of the culture to all of a sudden be Cultural Anthropologists and authorities on Mayan Culture.

                          This seems to be the norm with many people though and not just in our culture - No matter how accurate a movie maybe somebody will not like its portrayal of something.
                          Last edited by SAC; 01-23-2007, 10:56 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by aisacsun View Post
                            'Apocalypto' is upon us
                            Posted: December 08, 2006
                            by: J.K. Dowell

                            Mel Gibson's ''Apocalypto,'' a movie about human sacrifice among the ancient Maya, premiered Dec. 1 at Chickasaw Nation's Riverwind Casino amidst Hollywood-style hoopla. Oklahoma Indian actors have been wooed by director Mel Gibson and are about to make a big splash on the big screen with the potential for even bigger and better roles for Natives in film.

                            I understand Gibson's claim that the movie is about a society's excesses and the costs of war (the movie has been billed as an anti-war film). I can stand with him on those aspects. But what message is ''Apocalypto'' really sending about the Native peoples of Mexico and Central America? This is but one thing we Indian people in the North must consider and question before we jump on Gibson's bandwagon.

                            I have been to Central America. I have visited the Maya in their homes where I saw mountains of beautiful fruits and vegetables being grown, not for Mayan consumption, but for export, most likely to the United States. The Maya could not eat those fruits of their labor. They cannot afford to. In the village I visited, the Maya shared a communal kitchen where most days the women cooked meals of beans and tortillas because that is what the family's hard labor in the fields afford them.

                            I heard the cries of women whose husbands had been ''disappeared'' and murdered by government troops or by paramilitaries. In Guatemala they are struggling to recover after almost 40 years of civil war incited by the 1954 CIA overthrow of a democratic government, subsequently wiping from the face of the earth 140 Mayan villages. The Maya fled to bordering countries and some were held in death camps for removal, much like our own ancestors' Trails of Tears. This is contemporary history.

                            The extreme, impoverished lives most Mayans live are not due to the ''excesses of their ancestors,'' as stated in a recent ''20/20'' special on ABC. It is due rather to the institutionalized racism of the church, military and government, which could not recognize our own Indian ancestors as human, justifying their wholesale slaughter, Christian conversion via boarding schools and the taking of our lands.

                            Before we rush to pat Gibson on the back we should understand that the same religious, government, military and corporate institutions that systematically conspired to take our lands and destroy our culture here in the North also had a hand in the demise of the ancient and contemporary Maya people. When the Spaniards invaded Central America in the 16th century, ancient Maya texts were burned so that the people would forget their history and a new history, more palatable to Europeans, could replace it.

                            Because my community work gives me the opportunity to occasionally network with indigenous peoples from below the U.S.-imposed border with Mexico, I am aware that some Maya people are not happy with this film. This pretty much answers the question why Gibson chose to hire North American Indians, making it necessary to teach them a Mayan language. If the film was welcomed by the Maya, he could have hired Maya people, since the film was made in their territories.

                            How will a film, which depicts the Maya as bloodthirsty primitives, impact their work, their lives, their image and our perception of them? What impacts will that portrayal have on the people in power who have an obligation to make policy for the Maya in Mexico or Guatemala, or elsewhere in Central America, where most policy is implemented at the business end of a gun?

                            Because we have a genetic, cultural and historical relationship with all the peoples of Turtle Island, we have an obligation to view this film with discerning eyes and a critical mind. The movie opened nationally on Dec. 8. We can use this as an opportunity for raising consciousness and educating about our commonalities with the indigenous peoples from below the border.

                            For instance, do you know that in some of those countries indigenous peoples comprise 40 percent to 80 percent of the population? In the case of the Maya, a lot, if not most, speak Maya as their first language. The women still dress in the traditional huipil. In Chiapas, where the Maya communities are occupied by the Mexican government (with aid from the United States), a large part of the region's resources are sucked out from under the Mayas' feet to generate electrical power for the rest of the country while the Chiapas Maya live without running water or electricity.

                            We should remember that some of the brown people coming across the lower border as ''illegals'' are probably Maya, or descendants of other Native nations. To justify atrocities against Native peoples (and to manipulate the citizenry into looking the other way), the elite have historically sought ways to portray us as less than human.

                            Let's make this an opportunity to learn more about contemporary Mayan struggles as well as the current struggles of Indian communities throughout the Americas. They are among the thousands of indigenous peoples who are going to the international community to seek redress for their grievances.

                            As we watch this new movie, we are obligated to do so with an informed mind. Our history is the Mayan history.

                            J.K. Dowell, Quapaw/Cherokee, is founder and director of the Eagle and Condor Indigenous Peoples' Alliance and lives in Tahlequah, Okla.
                            I feel like quoting all of the less educated people who has been dancing with this article. sorry no offense but you all should have a little knowledge about what you are writing.

                            i want to point out some things here. first of all, the movie is not just about Maya civilization. the parts where a group of people sacrifices human heart to the God of Sun, is taken from Aztecs. it was Aztecs who used to sacrifice human heart and it was a part of their religion.

                            those who think this movie is racist, well, i think they are not educated anough to know the meaning of the word. no matter how loud you scream, you can not change the history. you should read more and scream less.

                            and to the person who posted this article: the name of the movie is Apocalypto. you dont even know the proper name and you are fighting against it.lol.

                            and for the rest of the people who have so many objections about anything in life, please watch a movie before commenting on it. and those who think its gory, plaese dont watch it twice. u should rather watch Hostel or Chainsaw Massacre-those are romantic comedies, right???

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by humanbeing View Post
                              I feel like quoting all of the less educated people who has been dancing with this article. sorry no offense but you all should have a little knowledge about what you are writing.

                              i want to point out some things here. first of all, the movie is not just about Maya civilization. the parts where a group of people sacrifices human heart to the God of Sun, is taken from Aztecs. it was Aztecs who used to sacrifice human heart and it was a part of their religion.

                              those who think this movie is racist, well, i think they are not educated anough to know the meaning of the word. no matter how loud you scream, you can not change the history. you should read more and scream less.

                              and to the person who posted this article: the name of the movie is Apocalypto. you dont even know the proper name and you are fighting against it.lol.

                              and for the rest of the people who have so many objections about anything in life, please watch a movie before commenting on it. and those who think its gory, plaese dont watch it twice. u should rather watch Hostel or Chainsaw Massacre-those are romantic comedies, right???
                              Dang...Do you by any chance, have a brother who posts on here?


                              Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


                              "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

                              Mr. Rossie Freeman

                              Comment

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