Why Would a Group of French Citizens Dress as Indians of 18th century in Reenactment Camps?

September 4, 2015 — Saint George, UT — Dixie State University and the DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival is screening a quirky but remarkable documentary from France, Indians Like Us (Des Indiens Comme Nous) The film follows a group of French Indian hobbyists and their dream to go and meet “real” Native Americans in the American Midwest. Filled with unforeseen emotion, this road movie presents great encounters on both sides, in the historical places of Native America: Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Little Big Horn.

One of the questions surrounding this unusual obsession at times has been, “Is it cultural appropriation or honoring,” said Sylvie Vàng JACQUEMIN, Director- Cinematographer. “Often what these travelers envisioned in their reenactments, was quite different than the reality, sometimes better, sometimes worse.”

The film will be attended by Paiute woman, Shanan Anderson, and her two sons, Little Sun and Leander, for the Q&A. Shanan, who has worked on several Native cultural projects is also very knowledgeable on the powwows and takes an active part in preservation of her Paiute culture.

“This film really intrigued us. Documentary can and should cover all sorts of topics, but this is one we did not expect,” said Phil Tuckett, Artistic Director for DOCUTAH, assistant professor at Dixie State University and the Director of DSU Films. “Although at first, one might expect that this is just a costume party, once you see the interaction of these disparate groups, you come to understand that they really are trying to build a cultural bridge between them.”

“We have always heard how Europeans think that Indians are cool, and we’ve heard stories about them dressing up, etc. but, this is the first time I’ve actually seen them,” said Shirley Sneeve, Director of Vision Maker Media.  “This film dispelled some of the stereotypes I had about these ‘wanabees’ showing their Native hosts as welcoming, respectful and inquisitive. I believe the experience that the French had changed them profoundly. My take‐away was that these French people do this from a standpoint of utmost respect—not a hobby. Their story fits with our mission to present untold stories.

About DOCUTAH

DOCUTAH’s mission is to inspire a global connection through independent documentary films and intellectual discussions. DOCUTAH strives to enhance the education of independent filmmakers, aspiring film students, citizens of the world and the Community. DOCUTAH is one of the few university-sponsored film festivals in the United States. It is an International pure documentary film festival. As part of Dixie State University’s academic component, DOCUTAH also offers master class seminars and filmmaker panels where student, amateur and professional filmmakers can discuss and advance their skills in the art of filmmaking. www.docutah.com.

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