A panel at the University of Montana this week analyzed the portrayal of Native Americans in the uber-popular “Twilight” vampire movie series, focusing on the shirtless teenager Jacob Black, a Native American who can turn into a werewolf.
The panel members for the University Student Involvement program hosted “Keeping Jacob on the Reservation: Is Twilight Racist?” event recognized that the movie can’t be taken too seriously, but saw several themes as concerning, the Montana Kaiman reported.
Black, and a the rest of the pack of werewolves (all Native) are a central part to the series of movies. Black, human Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen are tangled in a love web complicated by the dangers of evil vampires that hunt the Cullen family and Swan. Vampires and the Native werewolves are sworn enemies.
The most concerning issue: domestic violence themes in scenes with the werewolf pack.
(University of Montana Assistant Journalism Professor and Director of Native American Journalism Projects Jason) Begay said he saw an obvious domestic violence analogy in one scene, where a Native American woman has a scarred face because her werewolf husband, as the movie explains, ‘got angry once’ and injured her. “Even without the [werewolf] metaphor, that scene is a striking commentary on domestic violence,” Begay said.
UM student and Blackfeet tribal member Keith Rock said Twilight plays into racist stereotypes. “As a Native American male, I am just assumed to have hurt a woman,” he said. “I saw that in the film, and it was just a slap in the face.”