Female Native American actors: Women we can be proud of

Native American female actors: 4 women who are living by example

Hello all!

Following my post from yesterday about male Native American actors/models, I kind of had to write this post…Things have to be equal for everyone right? When I first started looking into Native American women actors or models, I found myself looking at numerous pictures of women in bikinis or very little clothes. I was shocked, and disappointed, as most of the women I saw were not proudly showing their heritage and culture. But then one had to ask, how does one show their heritage? Well, I don’t think that one has to be in full Pow wow regalia to do so but one also has to be somewhat modest (yes not a very popular word in the acting world). 

I mean it might just be me, but I think that using your heritage to justify a photoshoot of yourself wearing only a head hand with a feather and bikini bottoms, is not my definition of proudly showing your culture. But again, thinking back of the pictures included in my post about male models, this might be a double standard. However, the men I presented within that post were proudly showing their heritage, in a more respectable manner, even if they were also showing some skin.

That being said, I did find 4 amazing Native American ladies who truly do the native culture justice. They live by example by following the Red Road themselves and being engaged in their community. Let’s see who they are.

Roseanne Supernault

Roseanne is a East Prairie Metis woman, originally from Alberta, now living in British Columbia. She certainly is a beauty! All of her life, she has lived the native way, immersing herself in the First Nations culture as a teenager.

Roseanne Supernault

Roseanne Supernault

She grew up in a large family and was raised by a single father, within the Metis/Cree culture. To know more about the Metis nation, read this post. Roseanne has played numerous roles on the big and small screen, including the title character in Maina, an historical film about the daughter of an Innu leader, held captive. More recently, she began writing screenplays, being accepted into the Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship. She is also well known for her role in the APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) series, Blackstone, now in its fourth season. Blackstone is a series about life on a reserve (Blackstone First Nations), with its beauty and trauma, events some of the actors have gone through themselves. And this brings us to our next female actor…

 

Roseanne in Maina

Roseanne in Maina

Ashley Callingbull

After reading about Ashley, her past and present life, I have to say that I love this woman! Girl crush 🙂 Such a great role model. And a tall one (she is 6′ tall!). Ashley was born in Enoch, Alberta and is part of the Enoch Cree nation. Her past is loaded with violence, trauma, growing up on a neighboring reserve, the Hobbema First Nations reserve. She survived abuse, including sexual abuse, as well child poverty.

ashley callingbull

Ashley Callingbull

Ashley Callingbull

Ashley overcame those dire conditions and actually began modeling, including in Native pageants. She also worked on the APTN series Blackstone, portraying a positive high school student.

Ashley speaks candidly about her own past, how she survived and used her experiences to guide her work. In her own words, what is portrayed in Blackstone is real and raw, it happened to her and it happens every day to real people on a reserve somewhere. The trauma is real, it is not exaggerated. Watch the interview with Ashley below. It is definitively worth it. Beautiful inside and out for sure.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/8thfire/2012/02/ashley-callingbull-1.html

Alex Rice

Alex Rice is a Mohawk First Nations from Kahnawake, Quebec. Alex’s family history is a unique and important one. She is a descendant of the Rice family, whose two boys got taken captive as little kids and were later taken to Kahnawake and adopted and raised by Mohawk families. Although born in Kahnawake, Alex spent most of her childhood in Brooklyn, NY, as her father was among a community of Mohawk ironworkers.

Throughout her career, Alex has remained close to and proud of her Mohawk heritage. She is

Alex Rice

Alex Rice

known for her role as Jane Pete in three movies (opposing the gorgeous Adam Beach, also Canadian). She is also know for her portrayal of Sacajawea in the IMAX movie “Lewis and Clark, great journey west”. She was recognized by both the American Indian Film Institute and the First American awards. She also had a supporting role in the movie The New World, alongside Colin Farrell and Christian Bale (good coworkers to have…) a historical drama depicting the story of Pocahontas (and much more). All and all, a classy and proud woman this Alex!

In the New World

In the New World

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brenda Schad

And this brings us to our last leading lady: Brenda Schad. Brenda is a Cherokee-Choctaw born in Texas. She was however adopted by a military family in her early years and spent her childhood traveling all over the USA. She was approached at age 15 in Japan to become a model. She attended university in Japan, while never forgetting her native heritage. Indeed, she founded the Native American Children’s fund of Oklahoma.

Brenda Schad

Brenda Schad

The non profit organization helps provide school supplies and clothes to Native American children. The project also helps high school seniors living in limited income families with expenses related to graduation.

Brenda also took part in one of the largest group of Native Americans petitioning in Washington against further budget cuts to the reservations.  An overall active member of the native cause as well as a model. Once again, a strong native woman proud of her heritage (which she did not leave behind after being adopted).

Brenda Schad

So what do you all think of those 4 fantastic women? Much more than models or actors aren’t they? I just love seeing women (and men) embodying the culture, living on the Red Road and using their past to grow stronger.

All my Relations

20 thoughts on “Female Native American actors: Women we can be proud of

  1. Vanessa

    so much more than pretty faces! A fascinating read. I think Native American culture is fascinating. There should be so much more in the media and more actors and actresses.

    Reply
  2. Eoinmc

    Fantastic women all and great representatives of their culture. I note that the theme of your article at the outset mentions native women who … I don’t know how to put it…. maybe use sexual titillation to promote … what .. their culture. I’m not so sure and maybe that is a something worthy of further discussion.
    I also notice that all of the women you feature as positive representatives are stunningly beautiful vis a vie some standards. Can I suggest that there are many native women who are not ‘eye candy’ who represent and contribute to their culture as well as anyone who may be deemed beautiful?
    I guess sexual titillation is used across the board and – it sells – so I’m with you on that. I would also never, ever attempt to denigrate the achievements of the women you have presented in your article.
    At the same time, I would suggest that there is a comparison between ‘eye candy’ and ‘flesh’ and would add that both are fairly natural ‘attractions’ in all cultures.
    I guess my point is that I have no issues with the women who use their flesh or their beauty to do their thing, but I would also like to see the women who don’t have that to sell – who are the real beauty of any culture, because of what they give – honoured.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      you make a good point Eric. With those 2 posts, I wanted to share with the world, individuals who have beauty that is more than skin deep. However, I totally understand the need to introduce role models who are not as beautiful on the outside. And I can certainly mention some of them for sure. The goal here was just to demonstrate that some actors or models (a profession often considered superficial) actually do something meaningful and deep for the culture.

      Reply
  3. Emily

    Hello Emily,
    Good article. It is nice to see positive female role models represented for aboriginal women. I like Tina Keeper too. She played RCMP officer Michelle Kenidi on North of 60, and is now a member of the House of Commons representing Manitoba, Canada.
    All the best,
    Emily

    Reply
  4. Margie

    Wow… beautiful ladies who are also talented and true to their roots. Great information, thank you for opening my eyes to these strong women.

    Reply
  5. Lin

    There are many great aboriginal stars. I am glad to see the focus of some of the shows highlight the good and challenging times of a nation that we know very little about. By grooming more aboriginals to take various parts in the movie making industry we may become more understanding about what they have endured in the past. Through that information we may learn to be more fair and forgiving in the future.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Lin!
      that is a good point. The history has to be known for sure. And to see those women engaged in the culture is heartwarming

      Reply
  6. Ed

    Hi Emily,
    WoW! Female Native American actors, these girls are gorgeous! Are they being recognized by any of the American or Canadian film organizations other than the Native Organizations? If they aren’t there’s something wrong. I really want to see these movies, I bet they are really good. Thanks Emily

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      thanks Ed!
      well I don’t think they are being as recognized as they should. More by the native organizations but then again that is quite an honor in itself.

      Reply
  7. Kym Peritore

    Watching the animation Disney film Pocahontas yesterday led me to search for the beauty of the Native Americans. You have written some great articles they are a truly beautiful and proud people and I wish we could see more of them in the 4front whether it be modeling or commercials big screen small screen we need to see more of the Native Americans. In this kindergarten nation of ours we all feel it has to be so socially correct to have a media full of African Americans are Latinos when I wish it was the Native Americans who could represent.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Kym
      thanks for stopping by. I think it is important that all colors be represented as we are all related and live together. Th beauty of the Native people and their resilience is for sure undeniable.

      Reply

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