Micheal Minthorn sang both ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and “America the Beautiful’ at the opening of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute. He is a professional actor in the actors guild; he pays his union dues. Micheal is also a military veteran and a CTUIR member. His most recent gig was with the National Park Service at Whitman Mission. The National Park Service is in the process of remaking the Cayuse video of the Whitman “Massacre.” Micheal helped round up Indian extras and players. One weekend they went to Vale and filmed. There he rode a horse at full gallop down an embankment and didn’t step in any gopher holes at all. The second weekend, they went to the Fort Vancouver historic site, where Micheal and Kyle Bates were measured for the hangman’s noose. Be careful what you pretend!
One girl recruited for the job was insulted when the production crew asked her to apply bronzer. Filmmakers have always had their own conception of what Indians should look like. Indians should be uniformly bronze. Movie stereotypes worked against Indians who joined the military because their officers were fully indoctrinated by popular movies as to the super abilities of Indian warriors — keen senses, lightning-fast reflexes, eagle eyes, etc. Sadly, it was those officers who assigned Indians to dangerous assignments such as ‘taking point’ in leading patrols. One veteran acknowledged, “we sometimes tried to live up to their expectations.” One man told his officer, “Why do you make me lead point–I can’t see any better than you guys.” His sergeant replied, “I know, but it makes the guys feel better knowing you’re in front.”
PEPSI PRIMETIME @ THE MUSEUM—That’s why Tamástslikt will show “Reel Injun” at our Veterans’ Day film screening on November 11, from 12:30pm to 5pm. Neil Diamond, Cree filmmaker, explored how the media image of American Indians was developed out of the stereotype-ridden fever of Hollywood mentalities. It shows such actors as Boris Karloff, Elvis Presley, Charles Bronson portraying Indians and asks Indian actors Graham Greene and Wes Studi, why? Should be a hoot, even though such thinking placed Indian soldiers in harm’s way.
PEPSI PRIMETIME @ THE MUSEUM—We’ll show old chestnuts from last year: 12:30pm Reel Injun, 2pm Choctaw Code Talkers, 3pm Way of the Warrior, and 4pm True Whispers: The story of the Navajo Code Talkers. It’s all free and open to the public with refreshments courtesy of Pepsi. Drink lots of Pepsi, support Tamástslikt programs.