April 26, 2015

Natives brave to protest Sandler

An Open Letter to the Native Actors Who Walked Off Adam Sandler’s Set By Apache Writer

By Noel AltahaThere are a few issues I have with this whole film, with that being said, let me state just a few:

The fact that this film was about Apaches yet the actors were Navajo is a problem. So the film crew basically implicitly insinuated that Apaches can’t adequately portray themselves enough to be Apaches in this film. If that isn’t a whole other level of twisted, I don’t know what is. And y’all went along with it. That in itself seemed like a yellow flag to me indicating a warning sign of what’s to come. Like a coyote crossing your path. *sips tea

The fact that Adam Sandler is a man of Jewish heritage, a culture with a history remarkably similar to Indigenous Americans. We are both descendants of a Holocaust. In fact, Hitler was inspired by the American government for its tactics used in the first Holocaust. The one launched against Indigenous people in present day America. Why? Because the American government wanted our land. The American government then hid this “dirty little secret” so well from the history books in American schools and around the world. Maybe someone needs to send Adam and his film crew to have a chat with someone’s Rez grandma, she’ll set him straight.
Altaha's conclusion:Dear Native actors who walked off the scene of Adam Sandler’s film set,

When you walked off the set of the film at the point you realized they started disrespecting Apache women, I thank you.

I thank you for planting seeds in someone’s mind: that respect for women is non-negotiable.

This small act may contribute to the protection of the next several generations of Indigenous women and girl-child. Maybe other men will think differently. Thank you.
The bravery of the Native American actors who walked off Adam Sandler’s movie

By Alyssa RosenbergIt’s one thing to walk away from a production that you think is abusive, a project that has been misrepresented or a situation where your technical expertise is being misused if you have other opportunities. It’s something very different, and altogether braver, to do so when you know that even a degrading opportunity might not come again.

But there’s power in that decision, too. By refusing to play parts they found degrading, actors like Loren Anthony and David Hill are leaving Sandler, his producers and Netflix in a difficult position. Will they try to fill the roles with other Native American actors, trying to convince them to take on work that others have deemed destructive? Or will they be forced to use white actors in racial drag in the roles, making them the butt of jokes that previously would have been directed at people of color?

No matter what decisions Sandler and Netflix make, Anthony and Hill have laid down another marker for all the actors that follow them. Regardless of what mainstream Hollywood might say, some opportunities aren’t worth taking.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly Condemns Adam Sandler Film“Our Native American culture and tradition is no joking matter. I applaud these Navajo actors for their courage and conviction to walk off the set in protest,” President Shelly said. “Native people have dealt with negative stereotypes on film for too long.

“Enough is enough,” he added.
Comment:  For more on Adam Sandler, see Sandler's Racist Ridiculous Six "Jokes" and Sandler Crew "Bronzed" Navajo Actress.

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