Fancydancing: the Art of Self
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Visual images of the drunken, vanishing, or stoic Indian are commonplace within the popular imagination. Indigenous films have provided a medium to challenge and refute these stereotypes. As a Native American writer and filmmaker, Sherman Alexie aims to blur and destabilize the boundaries at the intersections of these categories. Only then do these categories become tangible and meaningful, particularly in regard to their role in comprising the modern Indian identity. Through his film, The Business of Fancydancing, Sherman Alexie explores the themes of alcoholism, reservation life, and masculinity within the Native American condition to challenge his audience to negotiate multiple identities. He subverts the stereotypes and categorization of these themes through developing characters who struggle to reconcile these themes within their own identities. With films featuring relatable characters that are complex and flawed, Alexie cultivates sovereignty of self-identity as an artistic and sociocultural practice through filmmaking.