Dear John Wayne by Louise Erdrich is about the stereotype of the Native Americans, a wild race in the film and how the Native Americans shaped the film to see react to these stereotypes. The characters in the play are the moviegoers, who happen to be Native Americans and John Wayne in the movie.
The poem is set in a trip to the cinema, the narrator (who we can assume is Erdrich himself) and her friends are watching a John Wayne western. The poem comments on the colonization and oppression of the indigenous people.
The poem “I Was Sleeping Where the Black Oaks Move” tells the story of a flood that destroys her home and surrounding land while she and her grandfather look on. It is also understood as a nod to Manifest Destiny and the cultural whitewashing of Native Americans during Colonial America.
Also the title “Dear John Wayne” suggests that the film was John Wayne Western, since he was known for his western films. Erdrich plays with the stereotypes of Native Americans and the stereotypes of settlers during Western expansion.