The goal of a new exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum is simple: to set the record straight after the Quileute Tribe's international exposure in the vampire-themed "Twilight" books and films, in which tribal members are depicted as teen werewolves provoked into snarling fits of temper.
By Lynda V. Mapes
"Our council was getting a lot of flak from our elders, saying 'Show them the real Quileute, not this Hollywood Quileute.' "
She is bemused by some of the "Twilight" tourists visiting the reservation.
"They didn't think real Quileutes actually existed; they just thought somebody made it up. It's, 'Oh my God, we got to see real Quileutes and the guys could be in the movie, they are so buff, why did they even use actors?'"
We also see hints of the "werewolf = savage" meme. The writer says the fictional Indians display "snarling fits of temper." The Quileute think the movies are portraying them as "wild" and "crazy." In other words, the Quileute werewolf is an update of the stereotypical noble savage. Twilight is reinforcing the age-old belief that Indians are fierce, predatory animals.
For more on the museum exhibit, see Quileute Exhibit at Seattle Art Museum. For more on the effects of the Twilight movies, see Native Beliefs = Werewolf Story?, Media Doesn't Know Quileutes Are Real, and Twilight Readers Forget Quileutes.