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Video: Adam Beach on Rewriting the Hollywood Indian

Posted on 2017-10-04 in Aboriginal

Adam Beach speaking at Convocation Hall. (Photo: David Stobbe)

Adam Beach believes it’s time Indigenous people in Hollywood redefine the way they are represented onscreen.

Speaking on campus for the Gail Appel Lectureship in Literature and Fine Arts on Oct. 2, the actor known for Flags of Our Fathers, Smoke Signals and Suicide Squad told an audience at Convocation Hall that he plans to become more active in the coming years at “pushing the envelope (and) calling out people for misinterpreting us.”

Beach spent the day speaking with students at a series of events hosted by the College of Arts & Science before delivering his keynote talk, a lecture titled Rewriting the Hollywood Indian.

During the evening lecture, Beach criticized the negative or simplistic depictions of Indigenous people featured in many mainstream films, as well as the practice of casting non-Indigenous actors to play Indigenous roles.

“We as Native people have a voice, a language, a strength that we keep in our hearts to share with people. If you want it, we’ll give it to you,” he said.

Beach argued that the change will ultimately have to be driven by Indigenous artists, not by the Hollywood establishment.

“We must acknowledge and support our writers and directors. We are writing and creating our own projects,” he said. “This takes time, but the future of Native filmmaking is prosperous.”

The Gail Appel Lectureship in Literature and Fine Arts was established at the College of Arts & Science in 2002 by Gail Appel and her husband Mark. The lecture series invites high-profile artists, writers and musicians to speak to students and the general public on campus.

 

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