Often my blogs are centered on the past as I try to bring to life the American Indian from the past. Hoping to not make the American Indian of the pst seem like some ulta-human being, I yet strive to show his strengths, and usually center in upon many of the things that have its roots in Native American, things that we perhaps take for granted. For instance, we’ve discussed in the past how two men, the real Hiawatha and the Peacemaker brought to Turtle Island (what we know of as America) their hope that this land would be free forever — it was their intention that this land be free from grief, free from war and free for individuals in it to live their own lives according to their own decisions of what they choose for their own lives. That wish (postulate if you will) — set into motion by Hiawatha and the Peacemaker — was here and was widespread when the Europeans (who were escaping oppression on a far off shore) landed here in America. These Europeans, who had no real tradition of freedom, were met by an entirely free people. True, there was the Magna Carta, which freed many, many people. But it was written in part for the Nobility who were in protest against an unjust King.
All right, so we’ve discussed other topics in the past, like the names of our towns and rivers and mountains, we’ve included some of our own American celebrations (including but not limited to Thanksgiving); we’ve mentioned and discussed foods that the first Americans gave us, we’ve also talked about the respect the American Indian showed for the land upon which we all walk. But for today, I thought we might have a look at some of our more contemporary, modern day Indians. Before I go too much further, let me say that most Indians that I know consider it a compliment to be called Indian — they themselves say they are Indian and are proud of it. The politically “correct” label of Native American sits well for some, but not for all, so if I offend, that is not my intention.
As probably many of you are aware, this is Adam Beach, whom I think is probably one of the most handsome men alive. And I am particularly fond of this photograph of him. Does anyone remember him in Squanto, the Disney movie? It was the first time I saw him on the screen and I thought then, as I still do today, that he is again one of the most handsome men alive.
But the other day I was watching an older movie (1981 movie) of The Lone Ranger and I was struck by what a handsome man Michael Horse is. Off to my left is Michael Horse as a young man and off to the right is Michael more recently. He is still a handsome, handsome man.
This particular movie was the 1981 version of the famous The Lone Ranger so if you’ve never seen it, and you have an opportunity to look at it, I would recommend it, if only from the standpoint of seeing a young and very handsome Michael Horse.
Then today I was watching country videos and I saw a video of Michelle Branch, which had a Native American theme and made her look very Native American. Upon reading her biography on Wikipedia, I realize now that she isn’t American Indian, but I’m including her picture here simply because in this video she did look very Native American.
Then there’s Michael Grayeyes. I saw him in the made for TV movie, Stolen Women/Captured Hearts. I remember thinking at the time that he was also one of the most handsome men of our times. He is Cree Indian and is a dancer by trade, as well as an actor. To our right is Michael dressed to pow-wow. It looks to me as if he is dressed (in the picture to the right) to grass dance, which is one of the most beautiful of the pow-wow dances I think — at least for the men. It is quite an atheletic dancel, but I think it also takes quite a bit of agility to perform.
The picture to the right and a little below the others is another picture of Michael. Handsome…handsome.
Michael also played the lead role in another made for TV movie called Crazy Horse.
This is another wonderful movie to rent or to see if you have the chance. I believe it is a more accurate accounting of Crazy Horse’s life than some of the earlier movies done on the same subject. That’s simply my opinion, of course, but from what I’ve read, I think the facts are better detailed in this made for TV movie than others that I have seen on the life of this very brave man.
Do you remember one of those young boys from Dances With Wolves? His name was/is Michael Spears. Well, he’s grown up and is as handsome as ever. This is Michael Spears with bow in hand off to the left. His brother, Eddie, is also an actor and they are both Lakota. Here’s another picture of Michael. Another handsome young actor. His brother, Eddie, is also an actor. Eddie’s picture is the black and white next to his brother, Michael. Interestingly once when I was at a pow-wow, there were Native actors there signing their pictures on a calendar — I bought the calendar and had several sign their pictures and among those were both Eddie and Michael Spears. They were very young at the time (both of them), but already very handsome.
Okay, and now here’s another one of my favorite Native American actors — and for any of you who have seen the movie, Cheyenne Warrior, you will immediately recognize Pato Hoffman.
I think I fell in love with that movie Cheyenne Warrior. Made in the late 90’s I believe, it remains one of my favorite movies to date. It also stars a very young and beautiful blond bombshell, Kelly Preston, who is none other than John Travolta’s wife. In this movie, Pato plays Soars-like-a-hawk, or simply, Hawk, who is a kinda smart-talking Cheyenne warrior, who is nursed back to health by Kelly, who husband has died (not at the hands of Indians, but rather at the hands of a dishonest buffalo hunter). It is not only an action movie, but a romance, although not a strict romance, as it doesn’t end as I would have liked it to end. You can still order this movie from Amazon, I believe, so if you haven’t seen it, I would het ahold of it and watch this wonderful movie.
Nowbefore I end this blog, I think it wouldn’t be complete without taking a look at a friend of mine, Steve Reevis. Steve is Blackfeet and has helped me considerably in the past when I and a few others were setting up a literacy project on the Blackfeet reservation. He donated his time and energy and will always be remembered by me with great fondness. In the picture below, Steve is dressed to dance the grass dance and he is sixth from the right — I’m standing on the end on the right. Steve’s wife, Macile stands to his right.
Okay, I left out one very wonderful man. So here is a picture of the very incredible man in my life. Yes, this was taken several years ago when my husband and I were first married. But it remains one of my favorite photos of him — taken of course by me. Off to the right are Paul and I in Montana, on the Blackfeet reservation, with Chief Mountain in the background.
So, my question is, what are your thoughts on this? Have you seen these men on the screen, and if so, do you have a favorite? For me, it would be hard to pick just one of them. They are all of them outstanding. But come on in and let’s talk. Let me know what you think of these very handsome American Indian boys.