Project 2 Video Analysis
Anth 202 MW 10-1220
Rabbit Proof Fence
This movie gives an emic description of three girl’s incredible escape from the Moore River Native Settlement in 1931. Before their entrapment, the girls lived in a maternal band that called themselves the “desert people”. Sisters Molly and Daisy and their parallel cousin Gracie are half-castes which means they are half white and half aborigine (native Australian). This ascribed status inadvertently was the reason why they were taken away. Through the Aborigines Act, the “majority” white settlers took away the rights of the “minority” natives. In the state of Western, Australia the Chief Protector of Aborigines placed half-castes in camps in order to integrate them into white society. The girls run away from the camp and use a fence (that was built to keep rabbits away from farmable lands) to find their way home. Nine weeks and over a thousand miles later the sisters are reunited with their mother and grandmother. Gracie was captured and never seen again. Molly was sent back to the settlement but managed to escape again only to have her daughter taken away forever. Today, the people who were sent to the native settlements are referred to as the “stolen generation”. Through Rabbit Proof Fence one is able to see the first hand negative affects of social stratification and cultural imperialism in a society.
Moreover, social stratification is the ranking of people in a society. In Rabbit Proof Fence one’s race plays a key role in their ranking. Race is a convenient cultural construction based on one’s skin type rather then phonotypical features. In the movie the
whites are the highest ranking and the blacks are the lowest. Half-castes are considered a “third unwanted race”. The idea behind putting them into native settlements was to assimilate them into white society and possibly “breed out” the blacks. Furthermore one could not marry exogamously...