Indian Country Today - Arts News

Appropriation Fight! Vogue vs. Elle and Pharrell; Seventeen vs. Itself

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 00:00

Imagine the fashion rack of your local newsstand turned into a battleground over cultural appropriation, with the biggest of ladies' style-bibles sparring over how best to be re...

Seen It Before: White Christians vs. Indian Pagans in 'Alone Yet Not Alone'

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 00:00

On June 13, the Christian-owned Enthuse Entertainment will release Alone Yet Not Alone, a family-friendly telling of an 18th-century Indian captivity narrative.

The film sparked controversy in January 2014 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked an Oscar nomination for the movie's original song, citing improper campaigning by its composer, Bruce Broughton.

Regardless, a few Natives question what effect the film might have on today’s perceptions of Indians. 

Alone Yet Not Alone recounts the ordeal of sisters Barbara and Regina Leininger during the Seven Years' War, when Delaware Indians raided a Pennsylvania farm in 1755 and captured the two young girls (the “Penn’s Creek Massacre”).  Barbara, the eldest, escaped in 1759, and Regina was released in 1764.

"This story about the Leininger sisters is almost ho-hum," says Linda Poolaw, Grand Chief of the Delaware Nation Grand Council of North America.  Poolaw, 72, is a member of the Delaware Nation in Oklahoma.  She was raised in the First Baptist Church in Anadarko and says she’s still a Christian. 

"There was captivity going on everywhere.  It just wasn't these babes," Poolaw explains by phone from her home in Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Alone Yet Not Alone is based upon the novel by Tracy Leininger Craven, who says the story came from her ancestors' own accounts.  Barbara's version was first published in German in 1759 and translated into English in 1878.  In the movie, Barbara is played by Craven's sister Kelly Greyson.

The film functions as a Christian allegory: The two white Christian girls struggling to survive among their "dark pagan" Delaware captors. "Despite all obstacles, [the captives] do not forsake their faith in Jesus Christ and never 'lose the song of their heart'," Craven says on the movie's website.

But off camera, trouble brewed.  In 2013, Pastor Doug Phillips of the evangelical Boerne Christian Assembly in Texas resigned from his position at Vision Forum Ministries after confessing to an "inappropriate" relationship with a woman.  Phillips had published the first editions of Craven’s book and played the role of Colonel Mercer in the movie.  His scenes were removed and Vision Forum Ministries closed down.

The public furor prompted Native websites like Last Real Indians and Native Appropriations to question the movie’s skewed version of Indian history. 

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Miss Indiana USA Mekayla Diehl Is 'Normal' ... and Native American!

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 00:00

Sometimes being normal is exceptional—just ask Mekayla Diehl....

Somebody Tell Jena Malone 'Indian Giver' Is a Racist Term

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 00:00

Actress and musician Jena Malone (as Jena Malone and The Shoe) has released a ...

Is This Shirt 'Racist'? A Tribe Called Red Threatened With Boycott

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 00:00

Ian Campeau, better known as Deejay NDN of A Tribe Called Red, is an outspoken cultural critic, both as official mouthpiece of the DJ trio and a twitter provocateur....

TV Premiere Tonight!: 'American Outrage,' Dann Sisters Documentary

Sat, 06/07/2014 - 00:00

At 8 PM Eastern tonight (June 7) on Free Speech TV, the documentary American Outrage will have its television premiere....

The Rez Drama American Indians Want to See Is Coming -- Finally!

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 00:00

The television series Blackstone has reaped critical praise and won awards for its portrayal of the life and crimes of a Canadian rez....

Pharrell Williams 'Genuinely Sorry' for Elle UK Cover. Happy Now?

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 00:00

In response to the backlash over his ...

Watch Trailer for 'Animism', New Album by Inuk Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 00:00

Tanya Tagaq, an Inuk throat singer, is a force of nature—or at least sounds like one....

Oh, Pharrell Is Part Native American? Here's Why It Doesn't Matter

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 00:00

The internet is a wonderful place for people who don't really know what they're talking about to openly speculate and confuse those who'd really like to understand the issues—th...

Not Happy! Natives Pan Pharrell's Headdress Look on Elle UK Cover

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 00:00

Pharrell Williams appears on a special-edition cover of Elle UK's July issue wearing a feather headdress, and Natives are not at all "Happy" about it....