The Daughter of Dawn arises again
July 17, 2012 11:38 PM   Subscribe

A film made in 1920 with an all Native American Indian cast has been restored and will soon be released on DVD and blu-ray by the Oklahoma Historical Society, which now owns the original.

The film also led to the rediscovery of a an historically significant, nearly 200 year old, Cheyenne tepee which is prominent in the film and had been kept rolled up on a shelf at the Oklahoma History Center.

There are many excellent links in this article, including the first 10 minutes of the film.
posted by Isadorady (17 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
"In 2005, Brian Hearn, the film curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, received a phone call from a private investigator offering to sell him a silver nitrate film that he had received as payment from a client. The PI hadn’t watched it, but he thought it was The Daughter of Dawn."

That's fascinating enough to warrant a full article of its own...
posted by sidi hamet at 11:59 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Great find, thanks so much for bringing it here.
posted by Rumple at 12:00 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Holy shit, what a great post. Thank you.

There were tons of silents with Indian themes, and though most of them were terrible, there were some gems--not necessarily great cinema but movies with ethnographic importance. In the 1910s and 20s there were plenty of Indian people who recalled the per-reservation era. The Silent Enemy is one great example.
posted by LarryC at 12:35 AM on July 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Fantastic post, thank you.
posted by Abiezer at 1:12 AM on July 18, 2012

Fantastic.i had no idea this ever existed.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:38 AM on July 18, 2012

Wow, this is really something. Wow.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:53 AM on July 18, 2012

I can't wait to see this! Lawton is my hometown.
posted by double bubble at 4:55 AM on July 18, 2012

The guy playing Brave #3 is just phoning it in.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:58 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is wonderful. Gotta get the DVD when it's released.

As staff visited with Kiowa and Comanche friends who identified people in the movie and described some of the objects brought from their homes to the set, one object in particular stood out. It was a tepee with bold horizontal stripes positioned at a key spot in every scene. The Kiowas said it was an especially significant tepee that disappeared in 1928.

What a dream, being able to check on details.

That tipi was given to the Kiowas by the Cheyenne in the 1830s as a symbol of peace between the peoples. In 1916, new images were painted on it by artists Silverhorn and Steven Mopope, the latter one of the famous Kiowa Five, a team of artists who became internationally known for their virtuoso skills in the traditional arts.

Shouldn't the teepee/tipi be returned to the Kiowa?
posted by likeso at 5:05 AM on July 18, 2012

Heart Eater. Now there's a name.
posted by likeso at 6:23 AM on July 18, 2012

This is fantastic. The Oklahoman has a good piece too.
posted by Miko at 6:34 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Tipi With Battle Pictures is the subject of a 1994 paper in Trademark Reporter: The Tipi with Battle Pictures: The Kiowa Tradition of Intangible Property Rights.
The discussion that follows focuses on the history of an important form of cultural expression among the Kiowa tribe- the Tipi with Battle Pictures. The authors present this as a specific illustration of Kowa cultural conventions, or legal system, governing the ownership of intangible property. For one-hundred fifty years, from 1845 to the present, the Battle Tipi has been repeatedly produced, exchanged, and reproduced according to distinctive principles relating to the individual ownership of intangible property. Its material form was a means of publicly displaying more fundamental underlying rights of expression. As we will see, this complex relationship was governed by the unwritten rules of a legal system which was well suited to the culture within which it arose. One of the points to emerge from this discussion is that while Kiowa culture has changed over time, particularly in its outward material appearance, many concepts regarding rights and restrictions over intangible property remain based on a traditional legal system. It is hoped that an increased awareness of the nature of tribal legal principles will aid our courts in cases requiring determination of the right of possession of cultural property.

posted by zamboni at 6:35 AM on July 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Fascinating post and great links.
posted by immlass at 6:44 AM on July 18, 2012

There's much more on the history of the Tipi with Battle Pictures in this Natural History article.

The Kiowa Black Leggings Society, a Kiowa veterans group, use a version of the Tipi with Battle Pictures, and painted a new one a few years ago.
The current tipi features the black-and-yellow stripes of the Tohausan tipi that cover half of the entire tipi, which were painted by Chaddlesone along with the society logo and scenes of an 1864 Kiowa battle, World War I, World War II and Iraq. Yellowhair’s work on the tipi includes the multiple military unit logos and the Korea and Vietnam battle scenes.

posted by zamboni at 9:30 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Never heard of this. Also, here's an obligatory link to "In the Land of War Canoes / Headhunters", the first feature length silent film acted by Native North Americans.
posted by iamck at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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