The Twilight Craze: The Rise of Native American Actors in Hollywood

by on January 25, 2010
in Cast & Characters, Interviews

29 Comments
Tweet This - Add to Facebook
Share Post

1

Ms. Lee Marshall from New Tribe Magazine sent me an article entitled The Twilight Craze: The Rise of Native American Actors in Hollywood. It talks about the issue of Native American casting in movies and how the Twilight movie franchise has raised awareness.

Click the READ MORE link below to read the article.

1

Also in case you missed my previous post, Chaske Spencer was also interviewed for the magazine.
You can download the magazine here to read his interview.

The Twilight Craze: The Rise of Native American Actors in Hollywood

For decades, stereotypes were a common place for Native American roles who were not even played by the indigenous but rather Caucasians who wore long black wigs and whose faces were painted with red and brown makeup. Once the public made a demand for more “authentic” Native Americans, other races filled the parts such as Philippines, Asians and Latin Americans. Since the arrival of one the most successful box office hits, Twilight, the question of Native Americans in Hollywood once again rises.

Native American Influences in Twilight

In the sequel to Twilight movie, New Moon, there is a Native American tribe that is represented, the Quileute tribe, which is able to transform into strong and powerful wolves who hunt and slay vampires. Some of the actors in this wolf pack are from native American decent which has paved way for fellow natives to show their acting talents and that there is a lot of room in Hollywood for the misrepresented roles of Native Americans.

Although some of the Twilight craze has been fueled with some Native Americans continuing to be upset by their portrayal, many of the twilight actors have become advocates for the Native Americans and have shed some light on the thoughts of Native American actors in Hollywood and in Hollywood films. Many stereotypes have portrayed Natives for years such as their infamous use of feathers, leather and long hair. The Native American New Moon actors Alex Meraz and Chaske Spencer have confessed that New Moon is a new type of History in Hollywood concerning Native Americans, where they are finally able to shed many of the previous Hollywood stereotypes concerning indigenous tribes.

Twilight Controversies Regarding Indigenous Tribes

Is the new Twilight movie, New Moon, free from indigenous stereotypes? No, but improvements have been made. Plus these young actors are finally encouraging others to embrace their roots. One large controversy has been that the wolf pack cast of Twilighters discovered their roots after having been chosen for the role which has outraged the Native American community. The principal Werewolf, Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner caused a stir of controversy because he learned about his roots after the fact of being cast as Jacob. Many were doubtful as to his lineage concerning that he found out after being cast in the role.

However, without this role, these young actors may have never even discovered their family lineages. Either way, the New Moon movie has certainly opened the door for many Native American actors who are embracing their new found culture and encouraging others to do so as well and the Twilight sequel has also changed the way audiences view Native Americans in film, furthering them from the stereotypes of “old Hollywood.” The Twilight series, which has a vital role for Native Americans in New Moon and Eclipse, the third installment of the Twilight Franchise, will most likely be one of the first Native American influences that young audiences view. Twilight creator, Stephanie Meyer, has given each character their own unique personalities and traits which show the more human side of Native Americans, rather than the stereotyped and generalized indigenous view that other movies have displayed.

A Time of Change

More and more, Native American actors can fight for their rights in Hollywood to be cast in the roles in which they represent. No longer do these parts need to be filled by others who most likely do not understand the indigenous roots of the character. Also, considering the decreasing population of Native Americans and for those who have lost touch with their indigenous roots, the Twilight movies help audiences to get in touch with their ancestry and to embrace their culture, no matter how out of touch they have been. In a way, Twilight has made it cool to embrace one’s indigenous roots rather than to hide any trace as before.

Despite the controversy that Hollywood has caused with its practices of casting, Native Americans are finally beginning to develop in their roles and story lines in Hollywood films as shown in Twilight. This movie franchise is a monumental step for indigenous actors in America. It is also a gateway for non indigenous people to view more accurate indigenous characters than those of the past, forever changing how the world sees Native Americans through film.

Comments

29 Responses
  1. Maddy says:

    *Useless first comment*

  2. Littletwilighter says:

    I know my roots and have alwyas been proud of them!!

  3. kaidyellis says:

    I am a Native American and proud! I’m mohawk and i have a mohawk name and it all! Native power! :D

  4. Bella4ever says:

    Maddy!! You are wrong it’s not useless, are you racist? I hate racist!! And I’m blond with blue eyes and I’m mexican american. (mom is mexican me and my dad are american) So shut the hell up!! I’m happy Twilight had real Native Americans!!

  5. Bella4ever says:

    Maddy!! You are wrong it’s not useless, are you racist? I hate racist!! And I’m blond with blue eyes and I’m mexican american. (mom is mexican me and my dad are american) So shut the hell up!! I’m happy Twilight had real Native People!!

  6. mykaela says:

    thats very true. alot of people dont know how talented native americans are…

  7. karlisa says:

    I’m glad Native Americans is finally getting notice.I’m about 50% Native American because my mom is half Native and so is my dad. and out of my family including my cousins I look more Native then all of them cause I got the dark silky air with the wide dark eyes with tan like skin. and everybody says I look like my grandma who’s Native.

  8. karlisa says:

    I’m glad Native Americans is finally getting notice.I’m about 50% Native American because my mom is half Native and so is my dad. and out of my family including my cousins I look more Native then all of them cause I got the dark silky air with the wide dark eyes with tan like skin. and everybody says I look like my grandma who’s Native.
    Reply

  9. Bella4ever says:

    Aww but you ae young now that’s mean. I think my dad’s side is native american because fe is tan and black very black hair.

  10. jezebelblaisedamenashhellewiseredferncullen says:

    SHE WOLF <3 EM!!

  11. kaidyellis says:

    I am also glad more Native Amercians are getting noticed. I am 100% :D

  12. Anne^^. says:

    that’s so coooool! wait.it isn’t, it’s HOOOOOOT. lolz (cuz they’re werewolves) :P .
    oh yeaa,what an awesome craze! :D

  13. Lee Marshall says:

    Hey, you posted it! Just one correction: the article is from New Tribe Magazine; I am not. Thanks, though!

  14. rick mora says:

    Dont forgrt about the original Werewolf tribe!!
    Jacob’s great great grandfather Rick Mora in TWILIGHT.

  15. OMG taylor laughtner is THE fittest boy in the WHOLE world he is absolutly GORJJ xxx yum

  16. INDIAN RAMON says:

    chicano’s …native’s know you dont like us and we know why u agents stone wall us and we know why the director’s would rather use a porta rican in a “LA” “south west” flim rather than its own people. its hurtful and law & order los angeles wont make it because they still dont know show us our props…….

  17. Aliyah says:

    -Boredd…. :P

  18. Embarrassed says:

    Oh, Please people, get a grip. It don’t matter whos who, thats crazy. Even a true native will not say that, just be yourself. I am a true native of the Southwest.

  19. MM says:

    Well,if there’s one good thing to come out of the Twilight Saga, it’s the boost for NA.

  20. jerrad Reed says:

    they need to put shoshone natives into the movies
    help support the word out take a look at some of my pics and tell me if you think
    i got what it takes :)

  21. seeker says:

    fine the offers off thin see you

  22. seeker says:

    WHO WOULD LIKE TO IN MY MOVIE

Share Your Thoughts

Personalize your comments with a Gravatar.