My Ancestors Were Showbiz People

Mary Big Nose

During the 1920's, my great-great grandparents were performers in a Wild West Show. Ernest Swallow and his wife Mary Big Nose, the grandparents of my maternal grandmother, were performers in the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Wild West Show. The 101 Ranch show toured extensively through the US, Mexico, Europe, and South America. The 1924 passport … Continue reading My Ancestors Were Showbiz People

Awake: All politics, no aesthetics. 

Awake, a Dream From Standing Rock, is all politics and no aesthetics. Or, at its best, its politics are muddled and its aesthetics are weak and unoriginal. Awake is a pastiche-style documentary seemingly designed to stir up outrage over the Standing Rock Protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. For those unaware, the pipeline transfers oil … Continue reading Awake: All politics, no aesthetics. 

‘The Seventh Fire’: Indians as Objects

There have been panel discussions organized around screenings of The Seventh Fire that wished to address the societal ills that plague the tiny indigenous community depicted in the film. However, any discussion about the film should center around the way the film uses its lyrical, pseudo-documentary style to establish its Native American subjects in the … Continue reading ‘The Seventh Fire’: Indians as Objects

An Extra in the Indie-Film Trenches of ‘Red Hand’

I recently had the pleasure of participating as an extra in Rod Pocowatchit's new feature-length movie Red Hand, filmed this September and October in Wichita, KS. Read the director's article about the dilemmas faced by indie filmmakers. In Pocowatchit's own words, the film is about "a man with the power to heal who time-travels from … Continue reading An Extra in the Indie-Film Trenches of ‘Red Hand’

Rediscovering ‘Daughter of Dawn’

Is Daughter of Dawn an Indigenous film? Questions of authenticity and cultural representation often arise in Native American/Indigenous Cinema. Going back to Barry Barclay's inception of the Fourth Cinema as Indigenous Cinema (in Barclay's words, "with a capital 'I'"), Daughter of Dawn can be added to the category of Indigenous Cinema despite being made by … Continue reading Rediscovering ‘Daughter of Dawn’

Article: Surviving the Apocalypse, Part 2: ‘The Dead Can’t Dance’

Rodrick Pocowatchit’s The Dead Can’t Dance (2010) is a comedy/zombie film about a Comanche family that must band together and fight for survival as the world’s non-Native population inexplicably turns into flesh-eating zombies. The film is the first in the now-exhausted zombie genre to feature main characters that are Native American. Similar to Jeff Barnaby’s … Continue reading Article: Surviving the Apocalypse, Part 2: ‘The Dead Can’t Dance’