The Silent Enemy: Representation of Native Americans
Michelle Raheja is an associate professor of English at UC Riverside and author of Reservation Reelism: Redfacing, Visual Sovereignty, and Representations of Native Americans in Film.
Margherita Ghetti holds a PhD in Italian studies from UC Berkeley. She is a film curatorial intern at BAMPFA and works as a programmer for several Bay Area film festivals.
Hertha D. Sweet Wong, professor of English and associate dean of arts and humanities at UC Berkeley, teaches and writes about indigenous literatures. Her books include Sending My Heart Back Across the Years: Tradition and Innovation in Native American Autobiography.
Exploring the on-screen representation of Native Americans over the course of forty years reveals varying interplays between how they see and how they are seen. The Silent Enemy, a 1930 feature-length melodrama based on detailed accounts of French missionaries, is a collaboration with Native American actors to recount Ojibwe life as it was before the arrival of European settlers. The educational short Ishi in Two Worlds relates the 1911 journey of the so-called last of the Yahi people from the Sierra foothills to the University of California Museum of Anthropology, where he lived—and was studied. In Geronimo Jones a young Papago-Apache boy torn between tradition and progress contemplates trading a tribal heirloom for a television set. Report from Wounded Knee, a fast-paced polyphonic collage of still and moving images, critiques the 1890 massacre in which three hundred Lakota people lost their lives.
Films in this Screening
The Silent Enemy
H. P. Carver, United States, 1930, restored 1970s
Chief Yellow Robe
Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance
Ishi in Two Worlds
Richard C. Tomkins, United States, 1967
Bert Salzman, United States, 1970
Report from Wounded Knee
Sidney Theil, United States, 1971