I believe we have come along way in cinema but still there are those that refuse to look into the true representations of Native culture. I say refuse but perhaps that the film makers just do not want to take the time or spend funding on a consultant to add the true representation in their films. They choose to take the easy way out and continue to use the Hollywood Indian Tribes.
On a couple of my films, I was sent to “Makeup” to get “Dirtied up” to make me look like a filthy savage that never baths and teeth that looks like they are about to fall out of my head. I wondered if they were going to have me run around beating on my lips and raising my hand in greetings saying, “How White Man.”
In the back of my mind, I have wondered if I should have refused and just walked off the set. Instead, I stayed and considered it a great opportunity to teach them some of the truths about the Native culture. As I was being applied with make-up I informed them of the truths of hygiene and the Natives compared to the European culture and their hygiene habits. I took the time to educate others on set as well. I became an advisor on several issues regarding the “Costume,” accessories and hair while on set.
When I was cast for the role on the film Jonah Hex and Unearthed, the casting notice was for Native or “Native look.” On both films as extras, I believe I and maybe one other was of Native blood, the rest of the tribe was of Hispanic and Asian descent. Now, it’s not that they chose them over Native heritage; it’s that no other Natives came to audition for these roles. If we are to move forward in the film industry, I think it’s important for us to look into roles requiring Natives and to educate those on set about the true representation of the accuracy of the indigenous people of this land.
For more on the subject, see Bird Men in Jonah Hex and The Origin of Jonah Hex.
Below: This poster says Jonah Hex is about selling Megan Fox to male viewers, not telling an authentic Western story.