Wes Studi in a still from 'Geronimo: An American Legend'

Wes Studi to Be Second American Indian Inducted into 'Hall of Great Western Performers'


On Saturday, Cherokee actor Wes Studi will become just the second Native American actor inducted into the ‘Hall of Great Western Performers’ at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The other, Jay Silverheels, famed for playing Tonto on the Lone Ranger television series and in movies, was inducted in 1993.

Alsoo being inducted on Saturday are non-Native actors Duncan Reynaldo (1904-1980), known for his roles as the Cisco Kid; Leo Carrillo (1881-1961), who played the Kid’s sidekick, Pancho, and Robert Mitchum (1917-1997). In an interview with the Santa Fe New Mexican, Studi quipped that his inclusion is extra-special because, out of the class of 2013, “I’m the only one who’s still alive.”

Studi’s best-known films include Dances With Wolves (1990), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), and Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), in which he played the Apache leader. More recently, he was prominently featured in Avatar (2009) and the AMC western series Hell on Wheels.

Studi will have a number of films in theaters in 2013 and 2014, but draws particular attention to Road to Paloma for its relevance to current events. “It’s basically an action-biker kind of movie,” he told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “But its core story has to do with domestic violence against women on reservations in Indian country by people not of the reservations or Indian country and the ability of tribal authorities to actually prosecute those crimes. While we stepped up a little bit in terms of the Violence Against Women Act that was signed within the past month … it’s a very small half-step in the right direction.”

This summer, he’ll be filming what one would expect to be a very different kind of Western, A Million Ways to Die in the West, a comedy written and directed by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

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Lauren Iniguez's picture
Lauren Iniguez
Submitted by Lauren Iniguez on
I have enjoyed seeing the movies you have been in. I look forward to seeing more in 2013 & 14! I wish you health and happiness! Thank you!

Bubs's picture
Submitted by Bubs on
Who would have guessed this scowly guy was a feminist! Makes hime even more awesome.

Cathy T's picture
Cathy T
Submitted by Cathy T on
The few indigenous actors we have witnessed in films should have been honored years before now. With Wes Studi being recognized now, it should lead the way for Adam Beach, Floyd Westerman, Dan George, Will Sampson, Eddie Little Sky, Tantoo Cardinal and other unsung actors of Native Amercan heritage.

susie   marie baker's picture
susie marie baker
Submitted by susie marie baker on
HE is a very handsome man and a very good actor! Good LUCK! HE is one of my people!

nelson mac kinnon's picture
nelson mac kinnon
Submitted by nelson mac kinnon on
Well deserved Wes, I have been a fan of yours for years. you are a great actor.

Bonita Peltier's picture
Bonita Peltier
Submitted by Bonita Peltier on
Im glad for Wes,yet on the otherhand so deeply disturbed that, no mention of will sampson,was never mentioned,at the time he was acting,there were even fewer natives in the industry,He was so natural,I miss him,anyone remember white Buffalo?

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Mr. Studi is easily in the top five of my favorite Native actors. Surprisingly, Jay Silverheels wasn't one of them.

Isaac Curley's picture
Isaac Curley
Submitted by Isaac Curley on
The fact is all in the name of the institution, National "Cowboy" and Western Heritage Museum which is why so few Native Americans are selected to be honored. Would there be more Indians honored if it was just named, Western Heritage Museum? That can only be answered by the body who oversees the institution. Nonethelss, cudos to the selection committee for attempting to overarch the namesake and be more inclusive. Many congrats to Wes Studi!

catherine maltais's picture
catherine maltais
Submitted by catherine maltais on
It is about time the Native Americans get their recogntion…this is great and I love Mr. Studi as an actor and activist for his people…great job!!!