The dating game talker
Audiences are being robbed by false representation of Native identity and the chance to bear witness to our truth.My friend Delanna Studi, a documented citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Native Americans Committee, states, “I am all too familiar with the roles that are being written for our people, especially our women.Editors’ Note: The casting of non-Native Americans to play Native American characters has its roots in the earliest days of cinema. Adam Beach, who made his breakthrough opposite Nicolas Cage starred in John Woo’s In Hollywood, amongst my friends, I’m known as “The Indian.” I always dreamed of being an actor in Hollywood, but my biggest dream was meeting Alyssa Milano and the day that dream came true played out like this: Alyssa was dating a friend of mine in Los Angeles, and when he introduced me to her, he said, “Alyssa, this is who I was telling you about… My friends have always said they have never met a Native American before, let alone having one as a friend.I am not offended in any way, because I carry my teachings and cultural values as a member of the Anishinaabe Nation. For the past 200 years, Native peoples have been forced to assimilate. Those Natives who continued to practice ceremony were jailed, and even killed.My colleague, acclaimed director Chris Eyre (Cheyenne and Arapaho) states, “As Native American artists we have come too far to accept cultural backsliding.” Mr.Eyre consults on history and contemporary appropriation of Native culture through Native is more than claiming your great-great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess, or that people have told you that you look Native because you have high cheekbones.After all we’ve overcome, being able to represent ourselves is not too much to ask.They're the dynasties, the establishment, the families with hundreds of film and television credits to their multigenerational names, and as the Hedren-Griffith-Johnsons, Kohans, Ladds and others in THR's exclusive portfolio reveal, they're just now getting started.
Sonny Skyhawk (Sicangu Lakota), who formed American Indians in Film and Television, states, “We have a caliber of acting chops that should be utilized.” There are many talented and capable Native performers to fill Native roles and actual Native people are the only ones who should.Hollywood profits off of telling our stories, using us as backdrops in their white savior narratives, sending the message to our people that we are disposable.The least Hollywood could do is cast Natives who are actually connected to their tribe.” alongside Nicolas Cage, my Hollywood dreams became a reality. However, with the respect I have for our Native peoples I put my integrity before my career and told my manager that the studio had to get permission from the Navajo Nation for me to be hired to play the role of a Code Talker.A calm and pragmatic sidekick when the hero is hotheaded, for example.In the classic good-guy versus bad guy scenario, both the hero and villain can each be considered the other's foil, in that each acts to show how the other behaves in certain situations.
Everyone thought I was crazy to put my career on the line, but this is who I am.