Arts & Entertainment | Opinion

Andre Cramblit: Let's see some real Indian actors on the screen

Elaine Miles, left, and Michelle St. John in Smoke Signals. Still from Cosby & Marc

Andre Cramblit, a member of the Karuk Tribe, looks at the history of Indian people in film:
Another blip on the otherwise bland radar of white middle class Eurocentric sensationalist information, that is really pabulum for the masses, and passes for news was recently seen. Apparently calling a female names like Beaver Breath and having them urinate while holding feathers is not to the liking of American Indian actors or their Cultural Consultant as they walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie. As my Great Aunt would say, “Bully for them.” Kind of ironic that she played a non-stereotyped version of herself in the little-known TV pilot, Climb An Angry Mountain, starring Fess Parker of the television show “Daniel Boone.”

Even the promise of a nice paycheck does not make up for the sting of mockery and racism. Boo on you Adam Sandler, This is 2015, let’s get past the “it is all in good fun” argument. No matter how you want to paint it you are just making another attempt at sophomoric humor that falls way, way, way short. Hear the crickets chirping?

Natives have always been an easy target for Hollyweirds wild lack of imagination of who we are as a people. Everything from offensive movies such as 1491: Conquest of Paradise or Mel Gibson’s travesty Apocalypto to mildly amusing offerings such as little Big Man. For every good character like Philbert in Pow Wow Highway there is Johnny Depp as Tonto. For every Thomas Builds-the-Fire, as seen in Smoke Signals, there is an Iron Eyes Cody weeping his way into 16 mm lore.

Get the Story:
André Cramblit: SMH @Adam Sandler #Wake Up and Smell the Refreshing Aroma of Equality! (Indian Country Today 5/24)

Join the Conversation