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'Tribal Cop' supporting players want more native writers to tell good stories

Wambli Eagleman
Wambli Eagleman collection

The actor & actress table read of the murder mystery screenplay, “Tribal Cop” is Saturday Feb. 15, 2014. It will be held on the UNM campus at Albuquerque from 1-4 p.m. It is open to the public. “Cop” has been written by Roscoe Pond who is Native American & he has gathered a mainly native cast. Below is a few more questions for several of the “Cop” supporting players.

Wambli Eagleman is reading the part of a Tribal Chairman's son. How important is it to you that modern Native Americans need to be written for films & TV? “It's very important as a native actor to be part of a modern day film (plus) TV. Not just to be called on every time there is a Western cowboy Indian film. There is so much talent (that) we native actors can bring to the table. / I think we need more writers to bring attention of native characters.”

Staci Robbins is reading the part of a ruthless politician who wants a lot of Indian Casino money. As a non-native, do you think that modern natives deserve to surpass stereotypes, especially now with Indian Casinos? “I am also a director and I can honestly say that I believe strongly in age, gender and race-appropriate casting. I do believe Native American actors deserve the same consideration as any other actors when casting for non-specific characters. / On the flip-side, I feel just as strongly that non-natives should not be cast when a role calls specifically for a Native American. I don't think the issue of stereotypes and natives not being cast in strong roles has as much to do with those making the casting decisions, as it does with writers and the characters they want to bring to life.”

ShoKestewa (Aldred) Montoya is reading the part of a corrupt tribal cop. Is it important for you as an actor to portray a modern man instead of one set in Western films? “A big “yes.” I believe it is my role to put forth a positive uplifting 21st century image to my young relatives. All the young natives in America who still see the silly romantic fallacy of the long haired, buffed, savage Indian who rides a painted horse and kills the white cavalry man. This is an amazing ridiculous image that is perpetuated by silly writers who are non-native. So, yes it is very important to me to portray a modern 21st century successful Native. In my business career, I have awards for design, a great professional reputation and A United States design patent. Yes!”

Ryan Begay is going to read the action sequences for “Tribal Cop.” How important is it to you that modern Native Americans need to be written for films & TV? “It is very important. The Native Film/TV industry is still in its infancy, but definitely growing. More and more projects are being written, in turn more and more are getting produced, giving the world an increasing exposure to Native Arts and stories.” Do you think we need more writers who can bring more attention to your own Tribe? “I think we need more writers and more fearless writing. When it comes to writing for the screen, I think writers just need to write a good solid story that will get made. If it happens that the story brings more attention to one's tribe, great, use that momentum to benefit the work.”

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