Reel Focus readers, one thing that you may not know about me is that history, not film, was my first love. Like an archeologist, I have a knack for exploring some of the most little known topics imaginable. So, it should come as no surprise that when I was looking for an interesting piece to present to you this week, I searched high and low for something that many people may not know about. I came across a website called Chickasaw TV and started crawling through it searching for something that could make an interesting blog article.
The Chickasaw Nation is a large community of Native Americans who reside primarily in Oklahoma. This nation of Native Americans belonged to one of the Five Civilized Tribes that used to reside east of the Mississippi river, spread across Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida before the Trail of Tears led them to their new home out west. As I continued to peruse their website, which is a great display of their culture, I came across an interesting person by the name of Te Ata Fisher. She was a Chickasaw actress and storyteller who used her acting skills to spread knowledge about the culture of American Indians, particularly the Chickasaw Nation. Coming across Te Ata’s profile was a great discovery, especially for our organization – Women in Film and Television Atlanta.
What I love about Te Ata is her tenacity. Even as a youth, she did not buy in to the stereotypes of what a woman should be in the community. She desired to do something out of the ordinary – especially for Native American women – and headed to Broadway to begin her career as an actress. Her desire to be a success didn’t make her a push-over, however. Te Ata adamantly refused to take on roles on Broadway that portrayed her or her race in a negative or stereotypical way. As a result of her refusing big Broadway roles that could have led her down the path of commercial success, Te Ata opted to go a different route. Instead, she used acting as an educational opportunity, performing as a one-woman show to enlighten audiences in New York and around the world about Native American Indian heritage.
Now, in honor of her legacy, a production is in development in order to tell about her rise to fame. Nathan Frankowski, is directing Te Ata which is currently in post-production. Paul Sirmons is the producer for Te Ata. Q’orianka Kilcher is the actress that will play as Te Ata. Some other big name actors and actresses that will appear in this film are Graham Greene, Gil Birmingham, and Brigid Brannagh to name a few.
Te Ata was and still is a beacon to her people and to women around the world who fight against the odds and use their talent to improve the plight of other women. This film will shine light on this little known actress whose name means “bearer of the morning.”
For more information and updates about this film, visit http://www.teatathemovie.com.
A special thanks to Tony Choate, Media Relations Director – The Chickasaw Nation.