Sunday, December 13, 2009

Indians in “The Shining”

One of the most fascinating sideshows that accompanies this incredible movie is the Native American Indian connection. When I first started this blog I checked out several other “Shining” websites and one of the first ones I read was this one. Even though there are a lot of hidden things pertaining to Indians in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece for a long time I thought it was ridiculous. The Indian references are a visual lure but I still haven't found any link in “The Shining” to the Holocaust of The American Indian. I can now see where the seed for this "theory" came from though because it’s quite obvious that Stanley Kubrick wants us to notice Indians in “The Shining” the same way he wants us to notice his special set of numbers and obvious twins. Many have picked up on this and come to the conclusion that “The Shining” is a metaphor for the Holocaust of the American Indian. I’m going to go through the reasons why people believe this than tell you why I don’t. It's a different Holocaust that Stanley Kubrick is pointing us to.

In the movie we have;
1) Wendy brings up the Donner Party and Jack lovingly talks about cannibalism with Danny on their trip to the hotel. The Donner Party had nothing to do with Indians.

2) Mr. Ullman talking about two Indian tribes during the tour at the beginning of the movie and Overlook hotel is full of Indian artwork and pictures from these "Navajo and Apache" tribes. This in itself proves nothing and is exactly what you would expect to find in a hotel in Oregon.

3) The Calumet cans that appear out of nowhere behind Dick and Jack’s head in the storeroom have an Indian chief on them. Stanley Kubrick is showing us what happens when people "Shine".

4) Danny’s subterfuge in the Hedge Maze at the end of movie as he uses an old Indian trick of retracing his footsteps to fool Jack. This seems to not only be an old Indian trick and it's hard to find where the actual origins of it lie.

5) Wendy is seen in pigtails looking a little Indian-ish. I don't think so.

6) The Indian Burial ground. Mr. Ullman tells us that, “The site is supposed to be located on an Indian burial ground, and I believe they actually had to repel a few Indian attacks as they were building it.” If you read the words very closely this sentence is obvious hearsay. Mr. Ullman has no firsthand knowledge of this. In the film it’s just a rumor that was obviously included by Stanley Kubrick to keep Indians in viewer’s minds. It's not in Stephen King's novel either, Stanley Kubrick added it. He also adds this in the dialogue so you'll know it's all a joke as Mr. Ullman tells them the year that The Overlook was built, “construction began in 1907 and was finished in 1909.” There were no "Indian attacks" in 1907 or 1909 and any explanation, like the website I mentioned before, that doesn't mention this fact is either intentionally or unintentionally incomplete.

7) Wendy refers to the “Keep America Beautiful” Public Service Announcements (where Iron Eyes Cody sheds a tear over pollution) of the 1970’s as she says; “The loser has to keep America clean!”. This is another sly joke on Stanley Kubrick’s part because Iron Eyes Cody isn’t even an Indian he’s an Italian. He's a cigar store Indian.

8) July 4, 1921. It can't be overlooked, this date is meaningless in the history of the American Indian and the date July 4 is not the most important date in the Holocaust of the American Indian. The discovery of America by the Europeans would be the most important date.

9) It's Indian blood that pours up from the graves of the ancient burial ground and out of the elevator shaft. If you look closely this is not what happens as the blood pours out of the top of the left elevator, not the bottom. This blood might be from some other Holocaust or even a future Holocaust, nothing links it specifically to the Holocaust of the American Indian. I believe Danny's vision of the bloody elevators is a premonition of Dick Hallorann's death and Wendy's vision of the bloody elevators is a premonition of Jack's death. The exact same vision seen by both Danny and Wendy at different times isn't real either, “Remember what Mr. Hallorann said. It's just like pictures in a book, Danny. It isn't real.”

The idea to put hidden Indians in his movie is yet another thing that came directly from Stephen King's novel. If you didn’t read it you’ve probably never seen this line, “Can you see the Indians in this picture?” (Page 133 - Chapter 21 & Page 196 - Chapter 34). He took Steven King’s seemingly insignificant sentences and makes you “strain and squint” (Page 133 - Chapter 21), than “you could see some of them”. The source novel just can’t be ignored here.

I’ve just listed where the obvious “Indians” are “in this picture”. Then there are the hidden Indians that most people have either missed or choose to ignore because they don't fit in with a preconceived interpretation.

There’s the red "Golden Rey" (the Spanish word that we now use for the Mayan Indian's kings) box pointing to the Mayan’s. A perplexing company added in between all the other brand names in The Overlook’s storeroom.

Mayan artwork is also seen here on the office wall at the beginning of the movie and it’s not mentioned by Mr. Ullman

There’s a perfect depiction of an ancient Mayan pyramid (top, sides and stairs) hidden in Jack’s dream of the hedge maze. Nothing else in the ancient world looks like this. The top, sides, stairway, it's all there – but it shouldn’t be; it doesn’t belong in this horror movie.

Taken all together what does this spell; the Holocaust of the American Indian? Not for me; it's obvious that the hidden Indians in "The Shining" are the Mayans. They are the Indians hidden “in this picture”. And we all know what very interesting number they're famous for; and what's right around the corner in a few years.