Monday, October 18, 2010

Free Movie Night: “Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian”

Take an entertaining trip through the evolution of North American Native People (“The Indians”) as portrayed in famous Hollywood movies from the silent era to today. Jim Jarmusch, Clint Eastwood, Graham Greene, John Trudell and others provide insights into the often demanding and occasionally hilariously absurd stereotypes perpetuated on the big screen through Hollywood’s history.

Date: Thursday, October 21, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM
Price: Free Third Thursday Program
Where: Washington State History Museum (Auditorium), 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma 98402

"Reel Injun" traces the evolution of cinema's depiction of Native people from the silent film era to today, with clips from hundreds of classic and recent Hollywood movies, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native film celebrities, activists, film critics, and historians.

Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond meets with Clint Eastwood at his studios in California, where the film legend discusses the evolution of the image of Indians in Westerns and what cowboy-and-Indian myths mean to America. Reel Injun also hears from legendary Native American activists John Trudell, Russell Means, and Sacheen Littlefeather.

Diamond takes the audience on a journey across America to some of cinema's most iconic landscapes, including Monument Valley, the setting for Hollywood's greatest Westerns, and the Black Hills of South Dakota, home to Crazy Horse and countless movie legends. It's a loving look at cinema through the eyes of the people who appeared in its very first flickering images and have survived to tell their stories their own way.

The Washington State Historical Society joins with Independent Television Service in presenting this Community Cinema Tacoma offering.

Community Cinema is a groundbreaking public education and civic engagement initiative featuring free monthly screenings of films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Community Cinema is on location in more than 60 cities nationally, bringing together leading organizations, community members and public television stations to learn, discuss, and get involved in key social issues of our time. The film screening will be followed by a lively panel discussion with local students, performers and community members.

Image above courtesy of ITVS.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The White Monster of 1910

(If you're coming from Facebook, to see this story in its entirety, click here.)

One of the greatest disasters in American history is also one of Washington's little-known stories. We're in the process of organizing our museum theater program, Ghosts of the Great Hall, and this tale was one of the first that we told.

On February 23, 1910, two Great Northern trains- the Spokane Local, and the Fast Mail train – were stranded at the Wellington Depot in the midst of the worst snowstorm ever seen in the Cascade Mountains. Day after day, the fearful passengers were unable to escape the mountain despite the heroic efforts of the railroad crews to clear the tracks.

In the early morning on the seventh day, a massive avalanche roared down the mountain slope, sweeping both trains off the tracks and into the canyon below.
Of the 125 people sleeping in the cars at the time of the avalanche, 99 were killed, making the Wellington Disaster the most deadly avalanche in America – a record that still stands today.

The History Museum is fortunate to have many of those images in our collections, many of which can be found online. When we uncovered these images, we wanted to share this story.

And so we invite you to listen to our COLUMBIAKids radio program, "The White Monster of 1910," and discover the rest for yourself:

IMAGE: Two locomotives in the snow after the trains were swept down Windy Mountain at Wellington, Washington on March 1, 1910. 1943.42.17461. Washington State Historical Society Collections. To view in its entirety, click here.