December 18, 2012

Te Ata in Bill Murray movie

Noted Chickasaw Performer Te Ata Featured In New Bill Murray MovieMary “Te Ata” Thompson Fisher is a cultural icon for many Native Americans. Te Ata, an enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, was a master storyteller and entertainer who took her talent across the globe singing and dancing for presidents and kings.

One of those instances will be a key moment in a new Bill Murray movie, “Hyde Park on Hudson” which will be released December 7. The film centers on the historic 1939 meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King George and Queen Elizabeth of England at FDR’s home in New York. It was during that meeting that Te Ata performed for the dignitaries, and also represented Native American culture to the world leaders.

Playing Te Ata is an actress with Choctaw and Japanese heritage, Kumiko Konishi.

Before getting the part, Konishi said she wasn’t familiar with Te Ata. However, she soon began to research her and learned she was an important figure not only in Native American culture but to Americans and to women in general.

“What was kind of crazy in not knowing about her was how rounded she was in her accomplishments and as a person,” Konishi said. “In that time, to have such an education and such a worldliness to be able to travel on her own, on her own accord to spread the word and educate people on our culture. I felt there was a beauty inside of her and a regalness. She had an energy that apparently emanated from wherever she went.”
Comment:  Konishi's self-description: "I'm Native American (Choctaw/Ishak), French Creole and Japanese." Another website adds:The Atakapaw call themselves ISHAK, or "The People." ATAKAPAW is Mobilian or Choctaw for "Eaters of Human Flesh."For more on the subject, see Play About Storyteller Te Ata.

Below:  Headshot of actress Kumiko Konishi.

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