Friday, August 10, 2012

Lost Native American film 'The Daughter of Dawn' restored

English: Chief Quanah Parker of the Kwahadi Co...
Chief Quanah Parker of the Kwahadi Comanche
I am counting the days until this wondrous find is released on DVD. Snippets such as those below are available online, and the film has been shown a few times in festivals, but general distribution is forthcoming at an unspecified date. The 80-minute silent film from 1920 features an entire cast of Native American actors (including a son and daughter of Quanah Parker) and was filmed near Lawton in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge among the Comanche and Kiowa nations. The Oklahoma Historical Society acquired and restored the film, virtually unseen for decades, with funds from the National Film Preservation Foundation. They also  commissioned a new musical score by Comanche David A. Yeagley, which was recorded by the Oklahoma City University Philharmonic. I can't even describe the emotion of seeing Native Americans from that era in their own element. You can find extensive background on the film at the History Blog. In the meantime, enjoy the photos. (All of the cast wore their own attire.)


Further reading: our books on Native American history and art.

6 comments:

  1. I'm excited to see this! Very excited, though I had no idea it existed. I say they should package a copy of this with every John Wayne film, to atone for the blatantly racist portrayal of Native Americans. Thank you for this. It's hugely important...

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    1. Yeah, the Searchers, which the BFI rates so highly, is exceedingly racist.

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  2. That first still, of the girl and man sitting on the log, is stunning.

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  3. The Comanche chief, Quanah Parker, was the son of Cynthia Ann Parker, whose story is remarkable. Kidnapped by Comanches at nine, she became one of them, as her parents had been killed. She married and had children in the tribe, only to suffer removal again from her new family, by well-meaning whites who could not fathom how a mother might miss her children, even if they were Indians.
    Both societies have much to learn from each other.

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    1. I'm pretty sure they drew on her story for Dances With Wolves.

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  4. The photo of Chief Quanah Parker of the Kwahadi Comanche is absolutely breathtaking, and his story is pretty fascinating!!! WOW!!!

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