The feature tells a story of a battle between nature, government, industry and a Native American Pueblo facing the consequences of mysterious toxic peril, and conflicts between financial exploitation and cultural existence.
The company tells us that, while both Means and Studi have had long, impressive careers as actors, filmmakers, and social activists, they see their roles in Terra Infirma as major steps forward for Native American actors. In particular, Means' role in the film, Peregrine, was not written as a particular ethnic type, but rather as a powerful, mysterious figure with a strong passion for preserving the earth.
"I am endorsing 'Terra Infirma' because this is the very first opportunity for American Indians to be portrayed in the modern world as full functioning participants in the American way of life who continue to be in rhythm with their culture," said Means. "Therefore, It is an honor to be selected to play Peregrine."
Is it just my imagination, or does Means say that all his movie roles are the first or best of something?
"Full functioning participants in the American way of life who continue to be in rhythm with their culture"? Try Pow Wow Highway, Thunderheart, Smoke Signals, Grand Avenue, The Business of Fancydancing, Christmas in the Clouds, Dreamkeeper, or any Hillerman movie. If that doesn't impress you, I can name several more.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.