WATCH FOR “MEEK’S CUTOFF” IN APRIL

Looking forward with great anticipation to seeing Meek’s Cut-Off, a movie that will come out in limited release in April 2011. Too bad we didn’t know it premiered in a Bend film festival this past October. Actress Michelle Williams has been getting good reviews.

Here is a review that linguist Phil KashKash sent out from Slant Magazine. Phil had to decline to work with the film because of his PhD dissertation in progress:

“When Meek captures a Cayuse Native American (Rod Rondeaux) and members of the three families begin to wonder whether they should follow the Native American lead instead of Meek’s, Reichardt deliberately avoids translating his dialogue, so we’re as much in the dark about his motives as the whole gang is—thus extending that sense of mystery about human motives to the outsider as she does to the ostensible insider.”

Kristen Parr, Nez Perce language instructor, said the film staff worked with tribal elder, Joan Burnside, on Nez Perce dialect for the actor. The Cayuse language was already on the wane at that period of history, 1845. The Cayuse Indians were already in the process of adopting what is called “downriver” Nez Perce as their colloquial tongue. Says Kristen, “If anyone sees it, I would like to know if they use the Nez Perce language that Joan Burnside gave them. We worked on it for a couple weeks. They didn’t seem interested in the fact that the lines they were having him say were so stereotypical. We had a good chuckle.” Does it sound like Kristen will pop for the $8 to see it herself?

Of course we are curious about the guy will play the Cayuse Indian captured by the pioneers and forced to lead them on the Oregon Trail. That’s a humorous premise actually. From gleaning the web, Rod Rondeaux, who grew up on Crow and is of Cheyenne descent, is the guy. He is a stunt man and a horse trainer from southern California. He had a fight scene with Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma. He was also in The Missing. Both respectable films–Here’s a photo of him receiving a stunt man award in 2000. Here’s hoping he will do the Cayuse justice.

We’ve had some requests to show the movie in which our people played Sioux Indians in the 1950’s epic, Great Sioux Uprising, with John War Eagle, Faith Domergue and Jeff Chandler. Perhaps we’ll have to do a public screening of our movie in April just to bask in what competent horse people we were. We also have Pillars in the Sky that was filmed in the Wallowas. Hollywood rents these movies to Tamáastslikt for $1/year, but sorry we are not allowed to make copies.

Actor Rod Rondeau

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