xviii Introduction into contemporary Indigenous narratives. These filmmakers, however, work outside the Hollywood studio system, and their stories speak to a specific niche of scholars and experimental video and filmmakers. I have chosen to highlight Native American actors and filmmakers whose voices reach a much broader audience. My book is part of the larger conversation about the exploitation of underrepresented people in Holly- wood. The media has arguably exploited Native Americans for more than a century nonetheless, I propose that Native people have always had a voice or “agency” and made the best decisions given the times and resources at their disposal. As Nicolas G. Rosenthal has pointed out, the legacy of Hollywood’s Indian actors has been “far more complex and ambiguous than suggested by narratives of victimization.”8 For decades, Native American artists rarely spoke about their roles in the movie indus- try, but the #MeToo and the #OscarsSoWhite movements along with extensive media coverage of Native activism in environmental issues (like Standing Rock) have helped to give them visibility and empowerment. Recent scholarship on Natives Americans in the movie industry has relied on information gleaned from Hollywood trade publications, news- papers, and magazines. While these materials can be helpful as contem- porary snapshots of industry practices and expectations, they are notorious for reprinting studio press releases rather than writing their own investigative stories.9 Not surprisingly, their profiles of actors and filmmakers—including those who profess Native American ancestry— are often embellished. Subsequent publications repeat these same stories about the movie industry and its actors without recognizing that studios created the material for their own promotional campaigns. In addition, a few scholars have exercised a highly selective use of evidence and dis- missed countervailing viewpoints and interpretations that might be offensive to their subjects. Native American artists thus begin to emerge in the cultural imagination as if they were one-dimensional icons rather than real people with complicated layers of strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, we need to be cautious about erasing the very contribu- tions of the people we are trying to highlight. A few writers have criti- cized Native performers on the grounds that their portrayals convey elements of racism and settler colonialism. These criticisms indeed have some justification in an industry that has long marginalized Native Amer- icans and people of all ethnicities. But that approach produces an unre- solved tension between our desire to acknowledge these artists while simultaneously denying them existence. One of the most challenging issues for scholars of film history is acces- sibility to studio archival materials. Archival collections (i.e., scripts,
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