American Indian Acting in Hollywood and Online

Tonto Plays Himself

In June of 2013, I spoke about the depiction of American Indians in Hollywood on a panel at the American Library Association conference and more recently, published an article about how these films are still prevalent in academic libraries (Domínguez, Daisy V. “American Indians in Feature Films: Beyond the Big Screen.” Collection Building 33, no. 4 (2014): 121-126.). As a result of this research, I learned that a number of American Indian directors have made documentaries about this topic. The most recent and probably well-known is Reel Injun, directed by Canadian filmmaker Neil Diamond (Cree), Catherine Bainbridge and  Jeremiah Hayes (available for personal home use via and for institutional use via VisionMaker). Less widely known are the 1979 five-part series Images of Indians directed by Phil Lucas (Choctaw) and Robert Hagoplan and Victor Masayesva Jr.’s Imagining Indians (1992).

The Longest Walk Through Hollywood

There are also at least 3 films you can check out online. The most recent are Jacob Floyd’s entertaining Tonto Plays Himself (2010) and the Screen Actors Guild’s short American Indian Actors. Check out Indian Country Today Media Network’s interview of Charlie Hill, the late Oneida comedian featured in Reel Injun which also references The Longest Walk through Hollywood, a short featuring Hill and actress Kateri Walker (Saginaw Chippewa and First Nations Ojibway). In this short, the two celebrities stroll through the Hollywood Walk of Fame pointing out American Indian actors and making some recommendations along the way. All three videos are embedded. Enjoy!

American Indian Actors

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