Smoke Signals - Trailer

Cast and crew of Smoke Signals reunites for 20th anniversary

The National Indian Gaming Association is hosting a special screening of Smoke Signals during its convention next week.

But while several cast members and the director will be on hand for the 20th anniversary discussion, one prominent creator will be absent. Sherman Alexie, whose work formed the basis of the award-winning film's storyline, isn't taking part, according to a press release posted on

“We are so proud to be able to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Smoke Signals next week, which is such a strong display of Native American talent and culture," Ernie Stevens, Jr., the chairman of NIGA, said in the release. "The movie allowed Indian Country to tell our story and provide a true representation of our people.”

Smoke Signals was directed by Chris Eyre (Cheyenne-Arapaho), from a screenplay written by Sherman Alexie (Spokane / Coeur d'Alene). Every major role was portrayed by a Native actor.

Alexie, who descends from the Coeur d'Alene and the Spokane Tribe, hasn't been seen in public following allegations of sexual misconduct that surfaced earlier this year. Several women, most of them in the literary field, came forward with incidents in which they felt pressured into sexual situations with the author.

Prior to the publication of a February 28 story on Indianz.Com about the allegations, Alexie did not respond to inquiries about his actions. But later in the day, he issued a blanket apology.

"There are women telling the truth about my behavior," Alexie admitted in the statement, which was issued late in the evening. But he said he had "no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers," as some have alleged.

Smoke Signals was released in 1988 to critical and popular acclaim. It was first feature film to be produced and directed by Native Americans, NIGA noted it its release, and was the first with an almost exclusively Native cast.

Cast members Adam Beach, Gary Farmer, Evan Adams, Elaine Miles and Irene Bedard will participate in NIGA's panel on September 26. They will be joined by director Chris Eyre.

"We look forward to a great discussion at Pechanga to celebrate this milestone," Stevens said of the event taking place at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.

NIGA's Mid-Year Conference & Expo runs from September 25-27 on the Pechanga Reservation.

Smoke Signals, incidentally, was distributed by Miramax, an entertainment company that was co-founded by Harvey Weinstein. The once powerful film executive resigned following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and he now faces charges for sexual assault and other offenses in New York.

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