Forts, Huts, and Tepees were not what he was looking for, but they are what he got.
After a heroic and illustrious career (albeit accidental) in the U.S. Army, John Dunbar was given what he thought would be a prime assignment in the American West. Instead, he rounded the corner of the overgrown trail to see in the distance what appeared to be nothing more than one of the many abandoned huts he'd encountered on his journey. But as his horse galloped closer it became more clear, this was the fort of his outpost.
Going against the apparent wisdom of his drunk and cantankerous traveling companion, he unloaded his gear and began fulfilling his responsibilities. Little did he know that just a few rolling hills away, among the fires and tepees of the Sioux, walked a community of people he would one day become a part of, and love.
It's been 17 years since the classic Dances with Wolves was released, but the ideas and questions raised by the movie still linger in many of our souls.
The dilemma to be faced at the end of the movie is one we've all no doubt wrestled with: How can we look back on atrocities inflicted by our government, condemn them, yet continue to bathe ourselves in lifestyles that would not be possible if the original evils were not committed?
Doesn't it feel a little weird celebrating racial diversity when, in the long view of things, racial diversity would probably not exist in our country if it weren't for our sinful history of slavery?
When you look at the panorama of history, isn't it a little interesting that the people of California are the champions of human rights, when to get to California from the east we practically destroyed an entire race of people?
Is it strange that many of those who (perhaps justifiably) are angry at our government for invading Iraq "for oil" are not getting rid of their SUV's and moving out of the suburbs because it's not "practical?"
What would have happened if we were all like Jon Dunbar, shedding the communal vices we truly believe to be so evil and making the extreme sacrifices of becoming new people in the process?
(Wow, that one was difficult.)