Media’s Imaginary Indians

Quileute people in the movies: Truth vs. Twilight

Advertisements

Ishi, the Last Yahi

Image

DSC04144Watch this amazing, sobering documentary on a California Native American. State-approved massacre’s of the Yahi people killed off most of his tribe but he survived. Rayna Green, Director of Native American studies at the Smithsonian, said of society once Ishi entered the scene, “The focus was on the disappearance, not the survival [of the Yahi].” But, at the end of the film, over 150,000 California Natives were reported to still live there. Resilience. Perseverance. It’s amazing considering all the terrible things done to the Native American people.

Residency Reading

Image

Residency Reading

Today, I finished reading Authentic Indians by historian Paige Raibmon. She notes the difficulty of binary ideas of “authentic” vs. “inauthentic” as a mode of thinking that makes aboriginal cultural practices a part of the past, romantic and always vanishing. In the conclusion, she quotes an aboriginal British Columbia elder saying, “I think sometimes you get fooled into thinking the only way we can be a true Indian is to live how people did 100 years ago… Tradition evolves. It’s ongoing every day.”

Thank you, Dave Ellis, of WCRA who recommended this read.