There Ain’t No Indians There Anyways Currently in the film…
There Ain’t No Indians There Anyways
Currently in the film industry AKA “Hollywood” the lack of Native representation is astounding. As Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee chimed in, she called for an Oscar Boycott . I couldn’t help but agree as I thought about the almost compete invisibility of Native directors,writers and actors in the film industry let alone the Academy Awards. (So of course)
I created a hashtag to start the discussion about the exclusion, invisibility and erasure of Native Americans / American Indians in film.
With the exception of “The Revenant” ( an amazing film previously discussed via this same blog) , Native Americans in film are used as a dreamy vision from a blurry Edward S. Curtis photo. A film with and about Native people is like the coveted Cobell Check, extremely rare. I’m highly impressed with Alejandro Gonzalez’s filmic attention to detail. I know for a fact he scouted Native communities across the country to cast his revenge epic. The work of Sterlin Harjo as a writer-director is filling a great void . Wes Studi as an actor has done groundbreaking work ( Michael Mann’s “HEAT” ) representing Natives In Film but that simply isn’t enough to make up for the extreme lack of Natives in the film industry and especially where content is concerned. There’s not enough #NativesInFilm for me to run out and congratulate Hollywood as racist trash like The Ridiculous Six is accepted and greenlit. Quite frankly it may never be enough. I want to see all Indians on TV and at the movies, all the time. Don’t get me wrong though, I love all types of film performances I just don’t think there’s enough indigenous content.
As a filmmaker and artist myself, I feel a deep obligation to comment on the times we live in and bring an awareness of this disparity in the film and television world. I created an actual series of images, photos and memes all using the hashtag to address the institutional racist exclusion of Native people from film.
There are many discussions currently centered around sexism and racism in Hollywood pointing at the endemic racist and sexist policies.
I’ve used my Apache Skateboard (c. 2004 ) painting of Marlon Brando inspired by his grand eloquent filmic performance as fictional aging mafioso Vito Corleone in this meme for specific reasons. Brando sort of became the “celebrity patron saint” for Indian Issues in the 70’s when he boldly turned down his Academy Award Oscar for “The Godfather”.
Brando’s award rejection upset the Hollywood elite and almost crashed his career at the time. His bold move though created for a moment in time an awareness of the oppression of Native people in this country and in particular its treatment of Indians in film.
So this year when we watch (or don’t watch) the Oscars, remember to forget the “Straight Outta Compton” , “Creed” and “Beasts Of No Nation” snubs and don’t forget our rallying cry and amazing hashtag simply because , there ain’t no Indians there anyways.