Foreword xi This brings me back to James Young Deer and Princess Red Wing at Pathé before World War I. Aleiss has been thinking about Native Ameri- cans and their portrayal in film and television for decades. In her first book, Making the White Man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Mov- ies (2005), Aleiss looked at Hollywood production files and interviewed filmmakers to ascertain how and why Hollywood chose to communicate images of Indians. In her new book, Aleiss looks at Native American actors, from Lilian St. Cyr to today’s Adam Beach, who earned a liveli- hood in the film industry but were often forced to participate in the pro- duction of demeaning and racist images of their own people. Aleiss’s story is not one of victimhood, but of resistance, protesting Hollywood’s use of “redface” and eventually setting up organizations for support of Native American actors and behind-camera talent. In presenting biographies of Native actors involved in Hollywood films from the 1910s to the present, Aleiss gives names and identities to these actors. As she notes, it was an uphill battle, involving Native Americans as well as other actors of color. Aleiss, for example, discovers that James Young Deer was himself mixed race of African American, Native, and European heritage, a member of what was known as “the Moors of Dela- ware.” Passing himself off as pure Native American was a survival strat- egy, as Aleiss notes: “No one in early Hollywood would have promoted an African American man to the rank of studio producer.” Given Holly- wood’s color blindness to anything but whiteness, often casting persons of color as Native Americans, East Asians, Arabs, or North Africans, regardless of their ethnicity, it’s not surprising that other African American actors claimed Indian ancestry in order to expand their career possibili- ties. Those actors who had careers in film included Buffalo Child Long Lance, who was born of African American and possibly Indian parentage, while Rodd Redwing claimed Chickasaw ancestry but was fully African American. Many other African Americans were hired as “Native- American” extras in Westerns but were hardly treated with more respect. It was a matter of two marginalized communities fighting for scraps from the white table. But as Aleiss demonstrates, progress has slowly been made through the century, and in the last two decades Native actors have received more roles and Native American themes in a contemporary setting are becom- ing less rare. Native actors are also speaking up when confronted with demeaning roles or unconscious racism, demanding respect for their communities, where they once remained silent for fear of losing their jobs. Hollywood still has a long way to go, despite #OscarsSoWhite,
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