Every script he gets contains racist material, the Oglala Lakota actor says. While he can't eliminate whole scenes—that would cost the production money and actors who do that don't get work, he says—he can urge inexpensive script changes.
"First you have to get the job ... and then you can talk with the director," Means says. Most directors are in control of the script. "I've found every director to be human and easy to work with."
In Pocahontas, Means says, he was able to influence a script that had Powhatan dismissing Pocahontas' efforts to talk to him before a council meeting. In the movie, Powhatan considers his daughter's words.
In Native cultures, "when a younger person speaks, every elder stops, like the old E.F. Hutton commercial," Means says. "Not only does that give them self-esteem, but you get jewels of wisdom from them once in a while." In fact, Pocahontas helped avert a war. "I'm very proud of that," he says.
For more on the Disney movie, see Pocahontas Bastardizes Real People.