“I think it’s very exciting for us to have a contemporary Native American culture be portrayed in the ‘Twilight’ movies. I think it’s done amazing things.”
“That’s the beauty of these characters who happen to be Native American. These characters are so multi-layered and multi-dimensional, it’s about their struggle and it’s about who they are as people and their essence, as opposed to primarily falling into these stereotypes of what people think Native Americans are. And that really hasn’t been done very much.”
She doesn’t think it’s fair to say that mainstream movie-goers are only interested in American Indian characters if they are supernatural heroes.
“They haven’t had enough exposure to Native American characters to say ‘I’m only interested if they change into wolves,’ and I think that’s too bad,” she said. “I think there are wonderful stories, and it’s an incredibly important part of our history as a country. And they’re just not told because there’s so little presence in mainstream America.”
From what I've seen and read, the werewolves don't do much except rush to Jacob's defense and attack vampires. Do the movies show anything of the Quileutes' government, business, education, social programs, or religion that isn't fabricated? Not that I'm aware of.
That's because the Twilight movies have reiterated decades of Indians stereotyped as magical shamans and shapeshifters. And more subtly, decades of Indians as secondary characters and sidekicks--antagonists rather than protagonists. If you're looking for a movie that stars Indians and portrays them as real human beings, try Dances with Wolves or Smoke Signals. Because the Twilight Saga isn't it.
Who's an Indian, again
Unless I'm mistaken, Jones is only a tiny bit Chickasaw and Choctaw. That puts her in the same position as everyone else I've criticized. Twilight's non-Native actors:
1) You're enrolled in a federally recognized tribe. That trumps any amount of "Indian blood" you may have. Indeed, a tribe may enroll someone who's pure white or black by "blood."
2) You have a significant amount of "Indian blood"--at least 1/4 and preferably 1/2 or more. Which happens to be the minimum amount required by most tribes. When you get down to the Johnny Depp level--1/8 or less--you're talking about a single great-grandparent who probably had no influence on your life. That makes you a non-Indian with a small amount of Indian blood, not an Indian.
3) You grew up or live in a Native community that accepts you as one of their own. I'm talking about a real Native town, village, or reservation, not a made-up community such as "Hollywood Indians in Los Angeles." A place where you've learned enough of the culture and history to fit in with the others.
As far as I know, everyone listed above fails these tests, including Jones. Therefore, I consider them all non-Indians with a small amount of Indian blood, not Indians. When I say I want Native actors in Native roles, I mean people who meet these criteria, not people like Depp, Lautner, or Jones.
For more on Breaking Dawn, see Gyasi Ross on Breaking Dawn and Truth vs. Twilight.