“It’s because they didn’t want to pay Hollywood Natives. It was easier for them to get local extras who didn’t understand the business and pay ’em, you know, a flat rate--versus taking the talent that’s worked very hard in Hollywood.
“I can give you a list of very over-qualified actors who would be more than willing to take a scale rate to participate in a project, you know?” adds Rick, who played an uncredited native werewolf in Twilight, and has a starring role in the upcoming feature Big Money Rustlas, co-starring Brigitte Nielsen and Vanilla Ice.
“As much growth as we’ve had, there are subtle changes in the arena of Native American contribution. It’s sad for me to say that there are still productions that are putting wigs on Caucasians and painting their skin,” he continues.
If the choice was filming in Oregon using local Indians as extras or filming in Washington using professional Indian actors...hmm, tough call. I don't have any particular loyalty to professional actors. If the cost impels filmmakers to use amateur actors, I'm okay with that. Making films "real" with real Natives is the main thing I care about.
Note that an Oregon tribe is reasonably close, physically and culturally, to a Washington tribe. From an authenticity standpoint, you could say using nearby Indians is better than importing Indians from around the country. So I'm not sure I agree with Mora's main point.
Putting non-Natives in wigs and makeup to play Natives is culturally unacceptable, of course. And Twilight screwed Native actors enough by hiring Taylor Lautner, Tinsel Korey, and Boo Boo Stewart.
For more on the subject, see TeenHollywood Interviews Wolf Pack and Doors Open for New Moon's Indians.
P.S. Someone on Facebook made an obvious point about the article's title: