Native Apparitions
248 pages, 6 x 9
1 b&w illustration
Release Date:07 Nov 2017

Native Apparitions

Critical Perspectives on Hollywood’s Indians

The University of Arizona Press
In Cherokee, the term for motion picture is a-da-yv-la-ti or a-da-yu-la-ti, meaning “something that appears.” In essence, motion pictures are machine-produced apparitions. While the Cherokee language recognizes that movies are not reality, Western audiences may on some level assume that film portrayals offer sincere depictions of imagined possibilities, creating a logic where what is projected must in part be true, stereotype or not.
Native Apparitions offers a critical intervention and response to Hollywood’s representations of Native peoples in film, from historical works by director John Ford to more contemporary works, such as Apocalypto and Avatar. But more than a critique of stereotypes, this book is a timely call for scholarly activism engaged in Indigenous media sovereignty. The collection clusters around three approaches: retrospective analysis, individual film analysis, and Native- and industry-centered testimonials and interviews, which highlight indigenous knowledge and cultural context, thus offering a complex and multilayered dialogic and polyphonic response to Hollywood’s representations.
Using an American Indian studies framework, Native Apparitions deftly illustrates the connection between Hollywood’s representations of Native peoples and broader sociopolitical and historical contexts connected to colonialism, racism, and the Western worldview. Most importantly, it shows the impact of racializing stereotypes on Native peoples, and the resilience of Native peoples in resisting, transcending, and reframing Hollywood’s Indian tropes.


Chadwick Allen
Richard Allen
Joanna Hearne
Tom Holm
Jan-Christopher Horak
Jacqueline Land
Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
M. Elise Marubbio
Steve Pavlik
Rose Roberts
Myrton Running Wolf
Richard M. Wheelock
 'A welcome and important addition to film studies and Indigenous studies, this timely and valuable collection brings together 11 original essays on American Indians and film to offer fresh assessments of representation, media, and indigeneity.’—Choice

This text tirelessly brings Hollywood to account for its racism and sexism by accurately crediting American Indian studies as a discipline for pioneer­ing the focus on accountability. The role of media in our contemporary world is becoming ever more pervasive. This work takes seriously the responsibil­ity to question how we as Indigenous individuals are depicted. It stands up to the stereotyping monster: film.'—NAIS
Steve Pavlik was an instructor at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington. He was the author of many books, including Navajo and the Animal People: Native American Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Ethnozoology.

M. Elise Marubbio is an associate professor of American Indian Studies and the director of the Augsburg Native American Film Series at Augsburg College. She is the author of Killing the Indian Maiden: Images of Native American Women in Film and co-editor of Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory.

Tom Holm, an enrolled Cherokee and a Creek descendant, is professor emeritus of American Indian studies at the University of Arizona. His publications include Anadarko, The Osage Rose, Code Talkers and Warriors: Native Americans and World War II, The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era, and Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls: Native American Veterans of the Vietnam War.
Preface: A Dedication in Memory of Steve Pavlik

Indians, American Indian Studies, and the Depiction of Indigenous Peoples in American Commercial Cinema: An Introduction
Steve Pavlik, M. Elise Marubbio, and Tom Holm
Thank You, Adam Sandler & Co., for Giving Us a Native American Rosa Parks Moment
Myrton Running Wolf
Reconsidering America’s Errand: Wilderness and “Indians” in Cinema
Richard M. Wheelock
Fighting the White Man’s Wars (on the Silver Screen): A Look at the Images of Native American Servicemen in Film
Richard Allen and Tom Holm
The Dys-passion of the Indian, or Tonto Goes to Town
Chadwick Allen
Look at the Heart of The Searchers: The Centrality of Look to John Ford’s Commentary on Racism
M. Elise Marubbio
Searching for Pocahontas: The Portrayal of an Indigenous Icon in Terrence Malick’s The New World
Steve Pavlik
The Four Horsemen of Mel Gibson’s Epic Apocalypto: Racism, Violence, Mendacity, and Nonsense
Tom Holm
Avatar : Colonization Marches On . . .
Rose Roberts
Through Indian Eyes: Programming Native American Cinema
Jan-Christopher Horak
“You Have to Define Yourself as an Inuit Person, if That’s What You Want to Do”: An Interview with Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
Joanna Hearne, J acqueline Land, and Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

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