Native American models: full of heart and pride
In the past week, looking around on the web including on Pinterest, I saw numerous pictures of Native American models, might they be male or female. Although, even though I was not looking for it, more pictures of male models came up (hey, I am not complaining!). On some of those pictures, the models would be dressed in traditional attire. It made me remember being annoyed in the past when I would see the portrayal of native people in movies or festivals. Back then, I would think: “why do they need to portray the people in such attire and war paint on” for example. At the time, I thought or perceived it as being degrading, demeaning or condescending, as though native people were all savages.
But then, the more I learned about the traditions, the culture, the people, the more I would experience pride and happiness when seeing those portrayals. Because guess what? The traditional dress, the paint on, the feathers, the leather wraps, well those were all worn by our ancestors. My mindset changed, to one seeing it as degrading to one seeing it as prideful and powerful. As long as it was done in a respectful manner not in a “costumey way” (because some people have not earned the right to wear certain regalia or head dresses). Because traditional dress or regalia is beautiful, oh so beautiful and meaningful. And it needs to be respected as it is powerful. And I now loooove seeing Native American actors or models in traditional attire, being proud of their history, culture and heritage. The way I dress has also changed with time. I wear more traditional things such as moccasins, feathers, bead work jewelry, turquoise. I wear the modern day version of what was worn by my ancestors I guess I could say. Below is the latest bracelet I bought 🙂 Just love it. You can buy it here, in the Etsy LJ Greywolf shop. But I digress…
So who are those models and what’s with the hair?
Ok so who are those Native American models and can we see pictures is probably what you are asking yourself right now. Just a sec, getting there. I just want to point out that as you will notice, the models all have long hair. Surprising isn’t it? Not really, if one knows the importance of long hair for native men. Hair is seen as an extension of ourselves, of our spiritual side and thoughts. Just like a tail will guide an animal, long hair, “a tail”, will guide the one wearing it. Strength comes from it. For many years, Native people were forced to cut their hair by their oppressors. Just think of the Indian Residential or boarding schools, where children were striped of their native identity with new clothes and short hair. So hair is sacred and used in ceremonies as well. It is decorated and fasten in elaborate hairstyles in different ceremonies for example.
Hair can also be involved in nation specific rituals. For example, a Sioux man once told me that it is tradition for Sioux men in his tribe to cut their hair when a family member passes on to the happy hunting grounds. The cut hair is then brought into a sweat lodge and prayers are made. Only then can the man who cut his hair begin his mourning, after the proper respect has been given. Isn’t it a beautiful tradition? For more info about the significance of long hair within the native culture, you can read this article. As I now want to get to the beautiful people below 🙂
Martin, Martin, Martin, known to some by the nickname of “the Eagle boy” after the picture on the right. Who is he you ask? Well Martin is a Tlingit native of Yakutat, Alaska. He is a model, actor, hunter, youth advocate, proud native man. Martin is involved within the native culture, advocating for the well-being of native people across Canada and the USA. He is a member of the Native wellness institute (which participates in conference about youth advocacy amongst others). He comes from a small community, in which he feels right at home and is just really devoted to the Native community. He gives his all in everything he does and as we can see he certainly attends to his physical wellness 🙂 He also attends to his mental, spiritual and emotional wellness. Ok enough said, this is not a personal ad, but I am sure he likes long walks in the woods…The man is the total package!
Ah Michael, such a talented man and well known within the Native community! A Sioux actor (from the Lower Brule tribe from South Dakota), model and a traditional singer with a gorgeous voice. A drummer who often performs in Pow wows as well as a public speaker who often discusses the native people, youth mentoring and sustainable energy.I have personally watched a few videos of Michael speaking or singing and they always move me.
Along with his brother Eddie, he has modeled in the past and he is mostly known for his role in Dancing with the wolves (he played Otter, his debut role). He was also part of the TNT Steven Spielberg mini-series Into the West, which aired in 2005. You can see him with one of his co-stars in that mini-series below.
Adam, a fellow Canadian, is a Saulteaux first nations actor originally from Manitoba. He grew up on the Lake Manitoba/Dog Creek First Nations reserve in Lake Manitoba. At the age of 8, Adam lost, within weeks of each other, both of his parents tragically. Adam spent the rest of his childhood with family members. Beach has portrayed numerous Native American characters on the big and small screen.
Although it might not have been his most memorable or biggest role, the role he played that touches me the most, is his role in the HBO films’ adaptation of Dee Brown, Bury my heart at Wounded Knee. In the movie, Adam plays Charles Eastman, a Sioux advocate and medical doctor. Although Adam has been sporting a short hairdo in recent years, I chose a picture of him with long hair below. I can honestly say that I never imagined myself with a man with long hair until I finally realized the importance of long hair within the native culture. Long hair men it is 😉
Well who’s a good looking man? Rick Mora!
Ladies, he sure is a looker 🙂 Rick was born in LA and until the age of 7 lived on a farm with no electricity and only a wood burning stove. He returned to civilization (his words) at age 7 and later obtained his BA from California state university. Somewhat resistant, he met with a modeling agent, whose idea was to brand Mora as “the Native man” in the modeling business.
Mora has since then been in numerous commercials and even had a small role in the Twilight series, which helped further his acting career. He then worked in collaboration with the Spears brothers. He also was the voice of Young Turok (along with Adam Beach) in the animated project Turok: Son of Stone.
And….. if you go on his website, you will find posters and prints of Rick Mora for sale! 1, 2, 3, go! Check it out here.
Ok one last gorgeous man! Michael is also a Canadian actor, a Plains Cree from Saskatchewan.
Not only did he complete a Master’s degree, he is also a graduate of the National Ballet School. He later joined the Corps de Ballet as a full member.
His acting career began with a role in TNT “Geronimo” in 1993, and blossomed in numerous shows. He also co-hosted the 1999 Aboriginal Achievement Awards. Pretty much all of his roles were of native men. Personally, I love his smile, his shiny hair, and his education. 🙂
So here we are, now knowing 5 beautiful Native men who are proud of their culture, heritage and are not afraid to portray it on the big and small screen. With this post, I wanted to help you discover native american male model/actors who are much more than a pretty face. They embody the native way of life. What are your thoughts?
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