November 15, 2019

All Pages – Leaderboard Header
All Pages – Leaderboard Header
All Pages – Leaderboard Header
NEW WORKS
All Pages – Skyscraper Right
All Pages – Skyscraper Right
All Pages – Skyscraper Left
All Pages – Skyscraper Left

HONOURING INDIGENOUS TALENT AND THE OSCARS

HONOURING INDIGENOUS TALENT AND THE OSCARS

Photo: Associated Press 

The Oscars often represent mainstream entertainment from which many North Americans celebrate collectively. This past Sunday, however Americans and Canadians alike found it difficult to celebrate the blinding whiteness (read: decidedly Caucasian) talent in the 2015 Oscar list of nominees and subsequent winners.  Oscar host, Neil Patrick Harris jokingly admitted it would be an evening of, “Honouring the best and the Whitest”.  This year’​s Oscar nominee line up is not a fair representation of the diverse populations that now make-up the ‘mainstream’ in the U.S. and Canada today. Here’s a MUSKRAT list that celebrates the talented Indigenous artists whose work continues to diversify the uniformity of that coveted stage:

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE – Cree from Piapot First Nations Reserve, Qu’Appelle Valley, SK.

1982 Winner for Best Original Song: An Officer and a Gentleman

Singer/Songwriter, who co-wrote the song “Up Where we Belong” with Jack Nitzsche

Photo: Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press Files
Photo: Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press Files

CHER – Cherokee

1988 Winner for Best Actress – Moonstruck

1984 Nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Silkwood

Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

CHIEF DAN GEORGE – Coast Salish, Tsleil-Waututh First Nation,  Vancouver BC 1971 Nomination for Best Actor in a supporting role: Little Big Man

Actor in the role of Old Lodge Skins

Chief Dan George is much celebrated in the Indigenous world and while did not win an Academy Award, he did receive the Order of Canada and has a school in Toronto named after him and a Canadian stamp made in his likeness.

 

Photo: James O'Mara
Photo: James O’Mara

GRAHAM GREENE – Oneida from Six Nations Reserve, Ontario

1994 Nomination for Best Supporting Actor: Dances with Wolves

Actor in the role of Kicking Bird

With a distinguished career in film, television and live theatre, Graham Greene is also a graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre located in Toronto, Ontario

 

Photo: Craig Samuel
Photo: Craig Samuel

JOANELLE ROMERO – Apache, Cheyenne, Spanish & Jewish from Albuquerque, NM.

2000 One of nine, first-round shortlist nominations for documentary film: American Holocaust When it’s all over I’ll still be Indian

Filmmaker and founder of Red Nation Film Festival.  Unfortunately the film did not make it to the final round of five finalists. Romero had great difficulties in finding funding to complete the film although a 29min version is found at her website: http://rednationtv.com/american-holocaust/

 

Photo: Michael Buckner / Getty Images
Photo: Michael Buckner / Getty Images

JOHNNY DEPP – Cherokee/Creek (Honorary son to Ladonna Harris, Comanche)

2008 Nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

2005 Nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Finding Neverland

2004 Nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

 

Photo: Junko Kimura / Getty Images
Photo: Junko Kimura / Getty Images

JAMES GARNER, Cherokee

1986 Nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role  – Murphy’s Romance

 

Photo: Mark Mainz / Getty Images
Photo: Mark Mainz / Getty Images

JAMES EARL JONES, Cherokee

2012 Winner of an Honorary award

1971 Nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role – The Great White Hope

Photo: Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star
Photo: Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star

KIM BASINGER, Cherokee

1997 Winner for Best Actress in a Supporting RoleL.A. Confidential

Photo: Dario Cantatore / Getty Images for Wells and Jeta Entertainment
Photo: Dario Cantatore / Getty Images for Wells and Jeta Entertainment

SACHEEN LITTLEFEATHER (Marie Louise Cruz) – White Mountain Apache, AZ

1973 Winner for Best Actor: The Godfather

Activist representing Marlon Brando for his role as Vito Corleone.

Littlefeather presented a statement on behalf of Marlon Brando, who declined his Academy Award as a show of support for American Indians and to bring attention to Wounded Knee occupation at the Pine Ridge reservation which started February 27 of that same year. Brando also boycotted the award show in protest of the “treatment of American Indian peoples by the film industry”.

Photo: AP
Photo: Associated Press

TOMMY LEE JONES, Comanche

2013 Nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Lincoln

2008 Nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – In the Valley of Elah

1994 Winner for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – The Fugitive

1992 Nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – JFK

Photo: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images
Photo: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images
All Posts – Leaderboard Bottom

About The Author

S. Amy Desjarlais

Amy Desjarlais is Ojibway/Potowotomi from Wasauksing First Nation. In 2003, Amy founded, EarthTALKER, a magazine focused on women and families. In 2008, Amy is the recipient of the FNTI/Ryerson University Practicum Award for Theory of Interconnectedness - An Indigenous perspective on political decision-making. Amy has an MA in Culture & History; her thesis, Emptying the Cup: Healing Fragmented Identity, explores an Anishinawbekwe (female) perspective on historical trauma and culturally appropriate consultation and is published by the Centre for World Indigenous Studies’ Fourth World Journal. Amy recently published her first non-fiction full-length book, Starblanket – A mother’s gift to her son. When she is not writing, Amy facilitates cultural workshops and drum circles. Amy is also a hand drummer and singer.

Related posts

4 Comments

  1. Jack

    This story is far reaching. Most of the people on here do not identify nor did they represent Indigenous peoples or our voice in movies they made nor with their voice they have to millions of people. This list should be cut in half.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Yalitza Aparicio Is The First Mexican Indigenous Actor To Receive Oscar Nomination

  3. Pingback: Yalitza Aparicio Becomes First Mexican Indigenous Actor To Be Nominated For An Oscar – Stop Tribal Genocide

  4. TrueBliu

    Re: Johnny Depp on this list.

    I absolutely adore Johnny Depp, and I think he is an amazing actor in his own right. But I mean…

    “Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the youngest of four children of Betty Sue Palmer (née Wells), a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, a civil engineer. Depp is of mostly English ancestry, with some Dutch, Belgian, and French.” and also “In interviews in 2002 and 2011, Depp claimed to have Native American ancestry, stating “I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek Indian.” Depp’s claims came under scrutiny when Indian Country Today Media Network stated that Depp had never inquired about his heritage nor was he recognized as a member of the Cherokee Nation. This led to criticism from the Native American community, including of his choice to portray Tonto, a Native American character, in The Lone Ranger. Critical response to his claims from the Native community also included satirical portrayals of Depp by Native comedians.

    On May 22, 2012, Depp was adopted as an honorary son by LaDonna Harris, a member of the Comanche Nation, making him an honorary member of her family but not a member of any tribe.” according to Wikipedia.

    This is cultural appropriation at its finest. I have no desire to criticize in any way his skills as an actor. He is one of my all-time favorites.

    But as a native “American” (for lack of a better word), I object to him being on this list. He was famous BEFORE he “became native,” and not DESPITE it.

    Couldn’t agree more with Jack’s comment – even if it’s four years later. 😛

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.