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Gil Birmingham as “noble savage” in Rango

March 16, 2011

Rango, as noted over at Twilight Lexicon, features Gil Birmingham (who plays Billy Black in the Twilight films.) While Birmingham puts a positive spin on the representation of his character in the interview linked at the Lexicon, I felt his “wounded bird” character, complete with a poncho and truncated sentences, played into Native stereotypes of the “noble savage.” I agree with the actor that his character displays wisdom and represents cultural heritage, but why must he speak in the “me Indian” lingo that has been used in so many films to signify Native Americans as uneducated and uncivilized? Much like the horrid portrayal of “Injun” identity in Peter Pan, Rango trades in a stereotypical representation of Native identity.

See my full review of the film here.

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