The Daughter of Dawn is a silent movie made in 1920. It is the first full length movie of an American Indian story that uses all American Indian actors and was filmed in southwest Oklahoma.
Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society will preview movie excerpts and provide background information about the film’s restoration at The Western Trail Historical Society’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m., at the old Plaza Theater, 107 N. Hudson, (now the home of the Altus Christian Fellowship). What is unique about this particular film is that it has an all Indian cast and was filmed in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The cast members include Esther LeBarre, White Parker, Hunting Horse, Wanada Parker, Jack Sankadota, Alice Apekaum, Old Man Saupitty, Slim Tyebo, Old Lady Sunrise and Oscar Yellow Wolf.
The Oklahoma Historical Society now owns the film, which has remained in obscurity for nearly a century. It was never released, but fell into private hands soon after its making. The OHS is restoring a copy and has commissioned a musical score to be written to accompany it. This story is part legend and part fiction, and includes all the major aspects of Comanche and Kiowa Indian life that form today’s image of the old west. These aspects include a buffalo hunt (probably the first in a movie using real Indians!), dancing, a brawl (between Indians), and a love story involving a death defying test of courage. The audience will see the Indians’ way of dressing, their style of conversing (lots of sign language, and the use of incessant hand gestures–something Comanche were famous for), and above all, their style of horseback riding with no saddles and no metal bits in the bridles.
This Annual Meeting is an opportunity to renew membership in the Western Trail Historical Society which provides free admission to the Museum, a 10% discount in the Gift Shop, and advance notice of all historical society and museum activities. The meeting is free and open to the public.