Reports by Christopher Allen and Ruth Eddy
Photos by Seaborn Larson
Brooke Swaney and Joseph Grady, filmmaker and actor, share Montana tribal roots, but also seek to address contemporary issues in movies. Rather than see studios cast big-time actors in Native American roles, they push for authenticity, even if it means fewer ticket sales.
Kevin Kickingwoman is making music. He has been singing Blackfeet songs since he was a kid, and now hosts a weekly two-hour radio show featuring the music of the Plains Indians. Joey Running Crane is also a Blackfeet singer, but he’s more likely to be seen performing his self-described “rez punk” at a local bar than any powwow.
Young artists like John Pepion and Dwayne Wilcox seek a fresh perspective, creating images with modern style and satire. But ultimately, both men feel the same pressure: To create ledger art that both inspires and sells.
Those who do write about their own experiences in fiction or poetry often have a hard time getting published. The stories that do get published often stick to stereotypes of Indians as mystical and spiritual beings, ignoring the varied reality of life on reservations today. Adrian Jawort is a contemporary Indian author who didn’t let publishing rejections stop him.