Sundays on the Gorge Presents – American Indians in Cinema: Participation Onscreen and Behind the Scene

The staff and volunteers at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center have booked a well known scholar and expert to talk about Indians on the big screen. Lance Rhoades, a well known scholar and expert on Native Americans, will give his presentation, American Indians in Cinema: Participation Onscreen and Behind the Scene, on Sunday, July 20.


“The public image of American Indians has been more defined by cinema than that of any other people in history,” he wrote recently. “When one considers, for example, that as many as 25 percent of all films made from 1900 to 1950 were Westerns – which frequently represented American Indians as violent obstacles to progress – the lingering implications are staggering.”

Rhoades explained his presentation will prompt museum visitors to consider the formidable role cinema has played in producing, perpetuating and challenging perceptions of American Indians, past and present. “This subject matter will challenge preconceptions and will raise questions about identity, stereotypes and cinema that have no easy answers,” he said.

Rhoades is a Seattle-based scholar who completed his graduate studies in Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at the University of Washington, where he has taught several courses on American Indians in Cinema. He has also been a researcher and instructor in the University of Washington American Indian Studies Department, and was a recipient of the UW’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Rhoades has presented talks in the Middle East, Asia and Europe on cultural history in film, and each year he teaches a course in the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is director of film studies at the Seattle Film Institute, a faculty member of the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program, and a program director for the Mercer Island Arts Council.

His engagement at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is funded in part by Humanities Washington. “We are delighted to be able to bring Lance to the Interpretive Center,” said Director Jim Price. “The reviews on his presentation are impressive and we are lucky to get to bring him to the gorge. I also would like to thank Ken Daugherty and Skamania Lodge for providing a room for Lance and his wife.”

The presentation will be at 2 p.m. in the Degroote Theater, on the mezzanine level of the building. Admission to the presentation is free with paid admission to the museum. We look forward to seeing you there!