Dancing with Wolves

September 25, 2008

By Mike Landry
A video still from Torry Mendoza's "Kemosabe Version 1.0."

A video still from Torry Mendoza's "Kemosabe Version 1.0."

Like a woman involved in an abusive, the relationship between Hollywood and North American Natives is a little bit more than complicated. Up-and-coming curator, and native Mohawk, Ryan Rice focuses examines this relationship in his new exhibition HOW: Engagements with the “Hollywood Indian.”

Using a eight artists, Rice depicts Hollywood as something Natives both despise and aspire to. He refers to Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto on the Lone Ranger as “the quintessential ‘Hollywood Indian.'” Although Silverheels was the first native person to land a major role that role was a stereotype.

“It’s a push and pull kind of thing. We hate Dances with Wolves, but we love Dances with Wolves,” says Rice. “It’s still pretty much a white movie, with Kevin Costner and his Indian woman who’s actually a white woman and we’re the background. But if you go across Canada or North America everyone on the reserves will have a copy of Dances with Wolves.”

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