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January 1, 2002

Native American Entertainers Seeking the Spotlight

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AUTHOR: Sadie Jo Smokey
The Arizona Republic
© 2002 The Seattle Times Company

Shan Redhouse-Baldwin grew up wondering why Native Americans on TV had blue eyes.

“We used to have a lot of questions for my mom,” says Redhouse-Baldwin, 28, a Navajo who grew up in Arizona and Utah.

“They used to film Westerns in Monument Valley. They were right there on the reservation, and they still didn’t use Native American (actors).”

To make nationwide connections, Redhouse-Baldwin and five other Arizonans entered the Four Directions Talent Search, sponsored by NBC and the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. The search was held in September and early October in Denver and Seattle.

Sonny Skyhawk, founder and chairman of American Indians in Film and Television, says he’s not surprised by the roles Native Americans get. Skyhawk, a Sicangu Lakota from South Dakota, got his start in Westerns 30 years ago.

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