November 10, 2009

Protesting stereotypes in Northern Exposure

American Indian actress fights stereotypes

‘Northern Exposure’ cast member talks about racial issues at Blue Mountain

By Kathy Aney
As an actress, Miles told the BMCC students, she often comes up against stereotypes of Native American women.

During the first season, her hairstyle was a bone of contention.

"They always wanted my hair braided," she said. "Braids, just braids."

Outside of ceremonial dancing, Miles hadn't worn braids since she was a little girl. Eventually, she got up enough nerve to express her opinion and her hairstyles became more varied.

Another time, Miles butted heads with the show's writers over a powwow scene and her wardrobe of traditional dress.

"I knew Alaskan natives didn't dress like that," she said, "but they were hell bent on doing it. It was hard for them to understand the differences between each tribe--each tribe has its own ways."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Mercurie on Northern Exposure.

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