Native Americans have long been portrayed on film, but rarely are they more than caricatures and stereotypes. Adding insult to injury: the “Indians” were often played by non-native actors.
Two events Sunday explore the intersection of film with Native American culture and history.
Lance Rhoades, a Seattle-based cinema scholar, will talk about Native Americans in film at the Harbor History Museum at 1 p.m. Rhoades will cover the role cinema has played in how Native Americans are perceived by non-native America.
Then at 4 p.m., the Gig Harbor Film Festival will screen the 2008 feature “Older Than America” with Cree director Georgina Lightning in attendance.
The film visits a shameful past in North American history: boarding schools where native children were forbidden to speak their tribal languages or practice any traditional culture. The unstated goal of the schools was to teach the Indian out of the students.
The film was originally set to screen during the festival’s run last October, but the DVD was damaged and the 50-plus audience members were unable to see it.
Festival director Marty Thacker said Lightning, who was there that day, handled the situation with grace. Thacker invited her and the audience to return for an encore screening.
“Older Than America” – with a supernatural and thriller theme – has also been released as “American Evil” in Europe where it garnered negative reviews.
Lightning, who also wrote the screenplay, plays Rain, a woman who has visions about the Minnesota school her mother was forced to attend. A priest wants the school’s history of corruption and crime kept hidden.
The film also stars Adam Beach (“Cowboys & Aliens,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), Wes Studi (“Avatar”) and a pre-“Hangover” Bradley Cooper. ‘American Indians in Cinema’
Who: Cinema scholar Lance Rhoades
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Harbor History Museum, 4121 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor
Information: 253-858-6722, harborhistory museum.org
‘Older Than America’
What: Screening and discussion with writer/director
When: 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Galaxy Theatre Uptown, 4649 Point Fosdick Drive NW, Gig Harbor
Tickets: $8; $6 for seniors, students and military
More information: gigharborfilmfestival.org, 253-851-3456Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/getout/