Neither Wolf Nor Dog Image

Neither Wolf Nor Dog

By Bradley Gibson | September 22, 2019

The experiences are informative both intellectually and emotionally, and only when Dan feels Nerburn sees with his heart as well as his eyes, can he truly be trusted to translate for the Lakota. When Nerburn understood the difference between land and property, he is ready to speak of and for the Lakota. 

If there was a board game version of Western Civilization, the core rules would state whomever first develops advanced weapons, and transportation technology gets to make the rules for everyone else, including whether they will continue to exist as a culture and keep their land. The winning player must firmly believe in their own primacy by way of divine preference. The game is an ever-escalating arms race, universally featuring conquest, genocide, slavery, and war. We’ve never been interested in treating one another any better. Northern Europeans developed this savage propensity into fine art, with Rome as the bloody crown jewel, and then Britain following the Roman model to forge an empire upon which the sun never set. 

“…when Dan feels Nerburn sees with his heart as well as his eyes, can he truly be trusted to translate for the Lakota…”

By the time White men stumbled onto the beaches of the New World,  there were already 500 indigenous nations on this land. Every square inch was accounted for and claimed. However, the settlers believed they were divinely chosen to own it. They eventually named their thirst for blood and soil “Manifest Destiny,” in which murder, theft, and cultural destruction were sanctioned by God. This mandate encouraged transformations of landscape, culture, and religious belief. Not much has changed since then. 

This was not a fringe idea at the time. Beloved children’s author L. Frank Baum (The Wizard of Oz), working for a frontier newspaper in 1891 wrote an editorial advocating for the genocide of the Sioux:

“The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies future safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.” (Saturday Pioneer, January 3, 1891)

Neither Wolf Nor Dog (2019)

Directed: Steven Lewis Simpson

Written: Kent Nerburn

Starring: David Bald Eagle, Christoper Sweeney, Richard Ray Whitman, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Neither Wolf Nor Dog Image

"…once he’s earned the elder’s trust, he’s shown life on the reservation in intimate detail..."

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