Column: Winnebago woman was one of first Indian film stars

Lillian St. Cyr also known as Red Wing. Photo from the book Who's Who in the Film World - edited by Fred C. Justice &Tom R. Smith – 1914 - pg.229, Film World Publishing

Lillian St. Cyr, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, was a film star who graduated from Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1902:
After graduating from Carlisle, St. Cyr lived with the family of a U.S. senator in Washington, where she met and married J. Younger Johnston who took the stage name Young Deer.

Eventually, the couple ended up on the New York entertainment circuit playing gigs in upscale clubs and hotels, Aleiss said. Their act consisted mostly of Native American songs, dances and storytelling.

An educated young woman, St. Cyr knew a lot about culture, and her husband was extremely savvy when it came to business and promotion, Aleiss said. “The two of them made the ideal couple.”

They went on to appear in Westerns with such film legends as Tom Mix. At first, husband and wife landed roles in short films with East Coast production companies before moving out West.

Get the Story:
Bygone Days: History: Carlisle Indian School grad may have been first Native American movie star (The Carlisle Sentinel 6/18)

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