“The Daughter of Dawn” was shot in the summer of 1920 in the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma using an American Indian cast.
By Bryan Painter
But for White, 82, this was the part of his mother, one of about 300 Kiowas and Comanches in the all-Indian cast, he had only heard of throughout his life. When she died in 1946, so many people talked of her appearance in the film.
Although a “sneak preview” of “The Daughter of Dawn” was held in mid-October 1920 at the College Theater in Los Angeles, nothing was really heard of the film after that.
Until Brian Hearn, film curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, answered the phone one day about seven years ago. A private investigator in North Carolina said he had received a copy of a silver nitrate film as payment for an investigation, and thought the film was “The Daughter of Dawn.”
The investigator was interested in selling it. But since the museum hadn't started collecting films, Hearn decided to contact the Oklahoma Historical Society. Through the actions of many people and organizations, the movie has been restored and rereleased with the first screening held in June at the deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City.
Extraordinary 1920 silent film with all-Indian cast re-released after a painstaking restoration project
Comment: For more on old movies, see Thousands of Indian Movies and TV Shows and Hollywood Loves Dying Indians.