An Authentic Exhibition : Authentic and Fictional Native American Representations in the Wild West



Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The last few decades of the 19th century in the USA saw a rapid growth in interest in Native American cultural practices and the history of interaction between the domineering and original populations - as a part of the development of the Western as a genre. As a result, a number of fictionalized stories of encounters, such as battles, between the two ethnic groups were published as fiction and performed as live shows. A development in the frontier led to several paradoxes: the same audiences on the one hand feared perpetrators of historical crimes and on the other hand enjoyed re-enactments of these events - performed by the same actual participants in them; an understanding of an "authentic" Indian became a product of a fictional construct of an idealized character type, and thus "authentic" and "fictional" representations often blurred, as much as fiction often beat authenticity. In my talk, I will discuss how the entertainment of the era present a challenge to our understanding of the boundary between an authentic and fictionalized representation of actual events.
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