Native Americans and Star Trek...

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Ferengi Prime 5, Jun 19, 2022.

  1. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    There an episode where Captain Picard has to remove a Native American colony from a planet and hand the planet over to the Cardassians. The the Native Americans of course do not want to be removes it took their people two hundreds to find this planet. We learn Picard has to make amends for sins of past family members did upon native Americans. ... The native Americans in the episode were Pueblo and Picard family sins goes back to the Pueblo revolt of 1680...

    Did Picard make the right decision?

    Will the Cardassians be faithful to their word?

    Did Star Trek do Native Peoples well?

    This is a summary of the show..

    https://www.startrek.com/news/star-trek-next-generation-journeys-end-native-american-representation

    A little more...

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Journey's_End_(episode)
     
  2. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  3. FredH

    FredH Captain Captain

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    That episode was a sad day for Star Trek. In the future, humanity is finally united… unless you’re Native American, in which case we’ll push you around. Just shameful.
     
  4. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    It's not the first time an episode has featured the Federation telling colonists "I don't care if this your home, you need to pack up your bags and leave." In this case, however, the attempted forced relocation was prompted by an unpopular Federation policy, which goes to show that the Federation isn't perfect and sometimes it makes decisions that some find not only unacceptable, but perhaps even motivation to take matters into their own hands (such as the Maquis did).
     
  5. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Here a good take on Star Trek and Native Americans... If you a Star Trek fan it worth a read...

    http://www.asjournal.org/49-2007/star-treks-native-americans/

    snip...

    The only ethno-racial group the program addresses in non-defamiliarized form is not African Americans (the largest “racial minority” in the United States) or Latinos (the fastest-growing “minority”) but Native Americans, a group with minimal visibility and demographic impact, yet of considerable cultural presence. Star Trek’s choice of Native Americans becomes even more interesting when one takes into consideration that the program explicitly hails from the cultural tradition of the Western—both Roddenberry’s oft-quoted description of Trek as “Wagon Train to the stars” and TOS’ and STNG’s designation of space as the “final Frontier” in their respective title sequences evidence this cultural association. “Indians” emerge from this context as a group that evokes a highly idealized and distorted image of one period in American history, mostly set in the 19th century, that mainstream American culture nostalgically yearns for as a cultural scenario that epitomizes “America” like no other. On the other hand, however, Native Americans also represent the United States’ history as a colonizer, a history the cultural narratives of the Frontier repress just as vehemently as Star Trek represses the colonial implications in its own narrative framework of interstellar “exploration.”
     
  6. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

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    Interesting article, and definitely worth a read. Here's a link, to make it easier to get to: http://www.asjournal.org/49-2007/star-treks-native-americans/

    One intriguing thing the article suggests is that the colonists in "Journey's End" were Native Americans specifically because Native Americans, with their long history of being colonized against, were the only type of "colonizer" whom the audience might perceive as sympathetic. In other words, they were in the story at least partly because they were more likable stand-ins for white people? That's an ouch.

    The author, Katya Kanzler, doesn't point out (possibly isn't aware?) that the "cultural expert" hired to provide authenticity for the character of Chakotay was a fraud -- moreover, one who'd been revealed as fake as far back as 1984: Jack Marks, aka "Jamake Highwater." To be fair, the Voyager producers weren't the only ones who were fooled, even after Marks's unmasking; when "Highwater" died in 2001, his obituary carried references to his alleged Native American ancestry. It's a sad note, though, that the only Native American main character in the franchise was co-developed by a man who was no more Native American than any of the white producers. Kanzler does assert that Chakotay's portrayal as Native American improved when the character, at his actor's suggestion, was later linked to more specific tribal origins: Central American Maya/Aztec/Inca. That did make a bit of a hash of his first-season presentation, though, as Central American tribes didn't have "spirit animals" or vision quests.
     
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  7. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Here a article critiquing Voyager crew and here is some about Chakotay... The fraudster(Jack Marks) was outed in 1984 and he was still hired... Chakotay is/was a trope...

    https://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/scifi/6-reasons-star-trek-voyager-worked.html

    It all makes sense when you discover that the character of Chakotay was invented by a man famous for being a Native American fraud. His name was Jamake Highwater and in the 80s he passed himself off as a Native American in order to book lucrative consulting gigs. But Jamake Highwater wasn’t Native American and in 1984 an investigative journalist exposed him. Somehow the producers of Voyager missed this expose and nearly ten years later in 1993 they hired him to help come up with the character of Chakotay, believing Highwater actually knew something about Native Americans. It seems what he told them is that Native Americans like smoking Peyote.

    Chakotay is Star Trek: Voyager’s Native American first officer. I’ve described him that way because it’s literally the only thing I know about him, even after watching all seven seasons multiple times. It’s not that they don’t give him screen time. The problem here is that when the show tries, they only seem interested in playing up the
    Native American angle.

    Tune in to any one of the show’s all too rare Chakotay episodes and you’re sure to hear the beating of vaguely tribal sounding Native American drums in the background. Odds are that episode’s plot will involve some sort of vision quest, or an obsession with the beauty and majesty of some primitive alien species that’s really in touch with the land. Maybe you’re thinking that this is great, this is a fine example of Voyager embracing diversity in the Star Trek universe. Isn’t that what Gene Roddenberry wanted? Not the way Voyager did it.
     
  8. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This episode's use of Native Americans always smacked of the worst sort of troping / stereotyping to me.

    As for the forced relocation, why would the 24th Century Federation try to stong arm people "for their own good?" It would be simple enough to put it to the people in plain terms:

    "Look, very shortly, this planet is going to be on the Cardassian side of the border, under Cardassian control and law. They have plainly stated your continued presence will not be tolerated. So you have a choice, and the choice is yours: we can pack you up and move you to a different planet in Federation space, or you can stay, and in all likelihood, be massacred. We'll contact you tomorrow for your final decision, but under Federation Law and General Order One, we cannot forcibly relocate you. The choice is yours. On Stardate such and such, the planet changes hands and your decision becomes irrevocable."

    Then, if they insist on being stubborn, let the Cardies hand 'em their Darwin Award. Free choice has consequences, and so does rank stupidity. :shrug:
     
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  9. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    https://www.startrek.com/news/star-trek-next-generation-journeys-end-native-american-representation

    This article is a good and agree with you...

    In the end, the Cardassians allow the Native people to stay on the land and, allegedly, peace reigns. Like all government bureaucracies, the Federation still has ample room for improvement in certain policy areas. Even Picard seems to have learned from his experiences in “Journey’s End” by the time he instinctively knows to defy direct orders and aid in the rescue of the Ba’ku in Insurrection. I wish the Federation had asked: can we trust the Cardassians to keep their word? If we watch this episode with historical precedence in mind, it makes little sense that the Cardassians would allow the Native people to remain on the land. What is likely the result is that after Picard and the Enterprise have moved on to another adventure, the Native people incur the wrath of the Cardassians, thereby continuing the history of violence and displacement that Native people have always endured. And that bloodstain that the Native people say has been cleansed from Picard at the end? It remains; some might even say that it deepens.

    The question is forcibly move the Native Americans and they live or roll the dice and see if the Cardassians keep thier word... What episodes did the Cardassians break their word...
     
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  10. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To me, the question is less about worrying about what the Cardassians will do, and more about the Federation living up to its own principles. In this case, the right of a free people to determine their own destiny. An enlightened Federation true to its principles should not forcibly relocate the population against their will. Rather, present them with the facts, calmly inform them that choosing to remain is tantamount to choosing death or slavery, and then let them make their own choice.

    They don't even have to all choose the same thing. Some may choose to stay, some to go. But the choice needs to be theirs, not forced on them by some Federation bureaucrat five sectors away.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
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  11. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Star Trek has had other episodes with Native Americans... Is it culturally fair...

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/The_Paradise_Syndrome_(episode)

    Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down into an idyllic location next to a lake on the planet Amerind, reminiscent of the American Pacific Coast. Kirk remarks on the "duplication" of the planet's evolution as compared to Earth, while McCoy notes the beauty of the flora.

    The trio only has thirty minutes to explore the surface before leaving the planet. They return to the lake and look across at a village which houses an indigenous, Native American-like tribe that is "a mixture of Navajo, Mohican, and Delaware" characteristics, according to Spock. Kirk feels it is similar to discovering a mythic lost society like Atlantis or Shangri-La.
     
  12. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

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    I think TAS's "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" is pretty well-regarded, isn't it? Its presentation of Mayan and Aztec legends is reasonably accurate, and its co-author, Russell Bates (a full-blooded Kiowa), made a point of showing that many human cultures had received guidance from Kukulkan, so that it wouldn't seem as if Native Americans were the only people who had help with their achievements. Contrast the presentation of how the aliens had civilized Chakotay's people, in VOY "Tattoo" -- they literally had no language before the aliens came, to guide them and only them. The only real point against "Serpent" is that Ensign Walking Bear wasn't voiced by a Native American, but by James Doohan. Though it's fair to note that Doohan voiced many/most of the male guest characters on TAS.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
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  13. Tango

    Tango Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It won a Daytime Emmy Award, in fact.
     
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  14. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Everyone in the DMZ got the same treatment whether they were Native American or not. It just felt more like history repeating itself for them.
     
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  15. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I vaguely recall reading that the Filmation people regarded "How Sharper" as something special, and supposedly, some scenes were animated in "twos" or even "ones," (i.e., dwelling on any given cel setup for as few as one or two frames), for theatrical-grade smoothness and detail of motion, when the industry standard for Saturday morning animation was more like "sixes" or even "twelves."

    Whether that's actually true, and the number of scenes for which it was done, however, I don't know.

    I will also note that the writer, Russell Bates, also has a short story in Star Trek: The New Voyages 2, "The Patient Parasites," which is based on his previous TAS script (which was never produced).
     
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  16. serdogthehound

    serdogthehound Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I find it almost impossable to watch with how they should Native American/Indigenous people in that episode and its too bad because it is honestly a good story
     
  17. Danja

    Danja Commodore Commodore

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    Or use your culture as a plot device (I'm looking at YOU, Chakotay! :mad: )

    It's not just a little tidbit you bring up at parties ("Hi, I'm Cherokee"). It's a matter of family, culture, and heritage. I'm in the process of defining my relationship with it.

    Voyager just glossed over all of that with "Ah-koo-chee-moya". :rolleyes:

    Hello, Trail of Tears. :(


    I've always found the "Ancient Aliens" theory racist.

    Roman Empire? "They were great engineers!"

    Mayans? Aztecs? Incas? "Those primitive people COULDN'T have erected those buildings! They must've had help from aliens from outer space!"

    A child can stack one block on top of another. Do we say that child had help from outer space?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
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  18. Worf factor9

    Worf factor9 Commodore Commodore

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  19. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

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    The author of "Serpent's Tooth" agreed with you. From Memory Alpha:

    Russell Bates gave the alien influence of Kukulkun a worldwide form. "I always had been outraged that Europeans said the vast cities in Central and South America could not have been built by the 'savages,'" Bates commented. "They had to have had help: the Egyptians, or the Chinese, or the Phoenicians, or even the Atlanteans came, taught the poor Indians how to build their civilization, and that's how it all happened. Horse breath! So, the story about Kukulkan became that Kukulkan visited ALL races of mankind, taught them his knowledge, and then departed. Now the story said that NOBODY on Earth invented a damned thing! They all got their knowledge from somebody else!"
     
  20. dupersuper

    dupersuper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To be fair to Star Trek, they did use the ancient aliens trope on Greco-Roman culture with Apollo.
     
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