By Craig Takeuchi
Reder thinks this blurring of fact and fiction has deeper sociopolitical roots. “If you actually say that the stories are sacred, then the implications for the indigenous land claims are right there. Much easier to make indigenous people a fantasy and exotic and something separate from real concerns.”
It might be different if Twilight were deeply rooted in Native reality...but it's not. There's a minimum of genuine Quileute culture and a maximum of unrealistic fantasy elements. The takeaway from Twilight isn't "The Quileute culture looks so rich; I want to learn more." It's "Indians are mystical beings with supernatural powers. They don't have a real religion or culture; they have a grab-bag of magic tricks."
The consequences arise when we talk about, say, protecting sacred Native sites and remains. A non-Indian is likely to say, "Indians don't have a religion like Christianity. They worship trees, rocks, buffalo, eagles, and wolves. Therefore, they're not sincere about wanting to protect this place. It's nothing but a political ploy."
People get such ideas because of frequent media stories about Native shamans, spirits, burial grounds, demons, and shapeshifters. They think Native religion is some fantasy concocted by a fiction writer. Thus they don't take it seriously.
For more on the subject, see Quileute Quiz for Twilight Fans, Genuine Quileute History and Culture and Twilight vs. Quileute Legends.