Foreword When I was a post-graduate, film archive intern at George Eastman Museum in the mid-1970s, I not only discovered the richness of Ameri- can silent cinema but also saw the first portrayals of Native Americans that were not utterly stereotyped images of savages or drunken Indians. Watching For the Sake of the Tribe (1911), Deer Slayer’s Retribution (1912), The Squaw Man’s Sweetheart (1912, James Young Deer), and later White Fawn’s Devotion (1910, James Young Deer), I realized that while the simple plots of pre-classical Hollywood may have been stereotypical, their Native American characters were treated with an uncommon sympathy. Rather than portraying them as marauding bands, Indians are seen having fami- lies and human emotions, and living in societies based on law and respect. All of these films had been produced by the French Pathé Company, at that time one of the largest film companies in the world, which had been shooting Westerns in southern France for a number of years for the Euro- pean and American markets. Since the French dominated American cin- ema screens, and Westerns were the most popular genre, Pathé decided in 1910 to set up a film studio in New Jersey to produce Westerns but quickly moved operations to Edendale, just outside of Los Angeles. As Angela Aleiss discusses in her book, Pathé hired, among others, Native American film director James Young Deer and his wife, Lilian St. Cyr, the latter known onscreen as Princess Red Wing, to give their films more authenticity. These Pathé films showed Indian characters and Indian society as gov- erned by the same emotions as their audiences, perhaps more so than similar films by American companies. In For the Sake of the Tribe, three Indians take the blame for a crime committed by white criminals in order to save their tribe from starvation. In Deer Slayer’s Retribution, a young brave blames a crime on another tribesman but is eventually caught,
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