Noel Atlaha from the Apache First Nation addresses the racism in The Ridiculous Six and the Navajo actors who walked off set during production. | Image Source: Noel Altaha – Grand Canyon, AZ
As you may have heard, the new Adam Sandler movie – The Ridiculous Six – has just been released on Netflix. While the movie was in production a group of Indigenous actors walked off set citing concerns over the racist way the Apache people in the film were being portrayed. Since its release, the film has received numerous negative reviews – mostly because it’s just not funny, but also because it’s highly offensive. Noel Altaha has the perfect response in this open letter, which has been republished with permission from nativemaxmagazine.com.
DEAR NATIVE ACTORS WHO WALKED OFF THE SCENE OF ADAM SANDLER’S FILM SET,
When you walked off the set of the film at the point you realized they started disrespecting Apache women, I thank you.
- I thank you for planting seeds in someone’s mind: that respect for women is non-negotiable.
This small act may contribute to the protection of the next several generations of Indigenous women and girl-child. Maybe other men will think differently. Thank you.
- Thank you for being the soil to let others grow. The seeds you planted today may take their lifetime to grow but you planted them. Thank you.
- Thank you for respecting Apache culture, there is that piece of impersonating another culture, that we can talk about too, but for this purpose thank you for showing your respect. You drew a line and when they crossed it you walked away. Thank you. Navajos and Apaches are supposedly “frienemy tribes” (for many known and unknown reasons; both legitimate or possibly frivolous reasons but nevertheless y’all chose to stand by Apaches.) From one Apache to my Navajo brothers and sisters, thank you.
- Thank you for standing up against the disrespect of our Indigenous women.
- Thank you for standing up against the disrespect of Apache women.
- Thank you for standing up for women, not just only Indigenous women. We are taught to treat all women with respect.
- Thank you for making a statement. No money is worth the outcome of disrespecting our values.
I am an Apache woman, I know you don’t need my thank you but I want to reach out and say it again.
Ashoog’ according to my family, Ashoog loosely means thank you for being you. Again, thank you for what you did. It is my hope we all learn from this experience. Stand together as one and become heard, or fall apart and become invisible. Y’all took a stand and the internet world heard it loud and clear. Small changes are still changes. *WarriorFistBump
In closing, I challenge those reading this to take this incidence and use it to inspire your conscious act of positive change.