Native scholar takes on Adam Sandler's new movie in Great Plains Quarterly

Released on 12/07/2015, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., December 7th, 2015 —
Great Plains Quarterly, Volume 35, No. 4
Great Plains Quarterly, Volume 35, No. 4

In April, eight Native actors walked off the set of Adam Sandler's new Netflix movie, "Ridiculous Six," due to the script's insults and derogatory remarks about Natives. Controversy erupted on social media, leading some to call for boycotting the movie and others to focus instead on promoting Native voices in cinema. The result? A necessary injection into the ongoing conversation of how Natives are portrayed in Hollywood films.

In "Ridiculous Flix: Buckskin, Boycotts and Busted Hollywood Narratives," in the fall issue of Great Plains Quarterly, Native scholar Theodore Van Alst Jr. examines the controversy surrounding the film and shows how Natives continue to struggle against Hollywood stereotypes.

"Pretty early on, it looks like Hollywood, and here by extension 'America,' quickly developed an ideal 'Indian' character, and how that character should appear," Van Alst writes. "The simplest of Hollywood's conceptions usually included that big feather bonnet and a tone some of us older folks remember from the crayon box as 'Indian Red.'"

Van Alst explores the history of Native representation in film, the continuing uphill battle fought by Native filmmakers and actors, and what the future holds.

Other articles in the issue (Volume 35, No. 4) include:

  • The experiences of Native soldiers in Vietnam and how they dealt with racism, stereotypes and the influence of their warrior culture in the midst of war are examined by John A. Little in "Between Cultures: Sioux Warriors and the Vietnam War."
  • Rachel Wolters takes an in-depth look at black settlers on the Great Plains and their quest to find freedom despite the challenges of racism, violence and oppression in "As Migrants and as Immigrants: African Americans Search for Land and Liberty in the Great Plains, 1890-1912."
  • Learn why Elizabeth Fenn's groundbreaking work "Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People" was chosen for the 2015 Stubbendieck Great Plains Book Prize in an essay by the chair of the selection committee.
  • Book reviews include topics on Native art, Charles Russell, sod busting, Calamity Jane and more.

"Great Plains Quarterly" is an interdisciplinary academic journal published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The issue is available via the University of Nebraska Press as an individual copy or subscription or online via Project MUSE through participating university libraries. For more information, visit