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If you loved Avatar, as I did, and want to see a real-life narrative of a similar conflict, take out Geronimo. West Studi, who lends his voice to the village chief in Avatar, stars in Geronimo. Matt Damon, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman and Jason Patrick also star in this beautiful, amazing movie about a remarkable leader of the Apache people.
Here is the synopsis: “In 1885, the United States, under the policy of “manifest destiny,” had nearly finished conquering the west and its native peoples. The next step, the government believed, was to resettle the Apaches, but the powerful, rebellious warrior Geronimo threatened their plans. So Cavalry troops rode out to arrest him — but they failed in their mission and he escaped. Thus began a campaign in which the army deployed more than a quarter of its men to track down the Indian leader. Although the soldiers greatly outnumbered Geronimo’s small band of followers, he eluded capture for more than five years, as the cavalry chased him through Arizona, New Mexico, and all the way down to Mexico.
This 1993 ‘revisionist’ Western tells the story of the white army who came to remove Apache warrior Geronimo (Wes Studi) from his land and the struggles the Indians put up in order to keep their land. Led by two Army leaders (Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall), the government tries to extract the Indians from the land, using both force and lies. Director Walter Hill (48 HOURS, THE WARRIORS) looks at both sides of the conflict and shoots beautiful cinematography in the American Southwest. The story of the Apache …”
It’s fitting for Studi, a Cherokee, to play Geronimo. The 1830 Indian Removal Act (I can’t remember ever being taught this, can you?), under President Jackson, forcibly removed the Cherokee and nearly all Native Americans east of the Mississippi to Oklahoma. The Cherokee still call it the Trail of Tears, as they were forced-marched to Oklahoma, where Wes Studi was born.
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