Dances with Wolves

Benn Yorke-Westcott
Prof. T Norris
REL 3308 UO4
Dances With Wolves
Dances with Wolves is the story of a Union Army Lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find an army post and his dealings with the native Lakota Indians. Throughout the duration of the film certain religious themes are present and essential towards the development of the storyline. In addition to this the rituals and spiritual traditions of the Lakota Indians were especially interesting to someone with little or no knowledge on the subject. Themes such as racial tension, friendship and self-discovery were also explored throughout. As an individual who is deeply interested in spirituality and finding deeper meaning and understanding, this film had me captivated and made me think a great deal.
From the first scene, that depicts the main character John J. Dunbar, played by Kevin Costner leaving a battlefield between Union soldiers and a Confederate company, it was clear to me that this character was intended to appear blessed. As he rode between heavy gun fire from the opposing side he raised his hands to the air as if reaching out to some God and says, “Forgive me Father”. During this sequence angelic music is played and not one bullet touches Dunbar. This immediately gave me the impression that he was intended to be protected by some divine entity and that a greater purpose was to be fulfilled.
This idea that Dunbar is blessed with a purpose was further reinforced during the scene when he goes into the abandoned Fort Sedgwick and a white dove flies out the window. It occurred to me that this was a reference to the Holy Spirit and Christianity and that as a white man this was probably his religion. This moved into thoughts that a Christian God was watching over the character Dunbar. This initial scene at the fort was also one of the most profound to me.
As Dunbar arrived at Sedgwick and realised that it had been abandoned, he immediately set about making improvements...