The Western Film: Culture and Concept – “Redskin” Screening

“Redskin” (1929) was one of the last silent films from Paramount Pictures, and featured both two-color and tinted print footage. It tells the story of Wing Foot, a Navajo man whose education has placed him between two cultures, facing a choice between separatism or assimilation into mainstream white society. Typical for the time, the lead actors were not Native Americans, but the film remains unmatched for its use of authentic locations such as Canyon de Chelly and the adjacent Chinle Indian Boarding School.

“Redskin” is significant for its sympathetic depiction of the struggle of Native Americans, newly recognized as U.S. citizens by the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, and the inherent social tensions of the time. Although government policy had largely supported amalgamation, public views began to transform following World War I, driven by the acknowledgment that nearly 17,000 Native Americans had fought. The shift in perspective led to a dawning appreciation of indigenous culture and the value of preservation.

Following the film screening, Angela Giron, Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Program Director of the Master of Liberal Studies (MLSt) program at Arizona State University, will lead a discussion that examines the film’s place in history and the portrayal of such issues as racial identity, cultural appropriation, and American Indian boarding schools.

Giron has developed numerous humanities courses for the MLS program with a strong focus on film content. In the summer of 2015 Giron presented her paper, “The Missing – Geriatric Female Sexuality in Film Content & Cinematography” at the Film-Philosophy Conference at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, England. Currently she is developing a course on film-philosophy. She has worked professionally in theatre and film based out of Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal and Toronto, Canada. She performed her most recently authored play, “Nitza – A Cuban Flavor” at the United Solo Festival, New York City, in October 2016. She is a longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild and an ASU Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture, as well as a member of the ASU Faculty Women of Color Caucus.

Presented in conjunction with ASU’s Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture and the Arizona State University Foundation. Admission to this program is free to ASU students with I.D. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Not rated. Included with museum admission; free to museum members.





Image Credit: Rödskinn (Redskin), 1929; Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History.