Native actors who walked off the production of Adam Sandler’s Ridiculous Six movie earlier this year appear in a video entitled “Respect Our Culture, Respect Our Dignity,” created by Indigenous filmmaker Roj Rodriguez

VIDEO: “Respect Our Culture” Native Actors Who Walked off Sandler’s Ridiculous Six Movie Respond

Vincent Schilling

Note: Though the Respect Our Culture video was produced in part by the nonprofit Survival of the Voices organization, not all actors involved are part of nor do they represent the organization.

Four of the Native actors who walked off the production of Adam Sandler’s Ridiculous Six movie earlier this year appear in a video created by Indigenous filmmaker Roj Rodriguez (Mexican American). who was also the creator of the NCAI’s “Proud to Be” video.

The video, entitled “Respect Our Culture, Respect Our Dignity,” opens with the written statement, “On April 22, 2015, a group of Native American actors walked off the set of a Netflix movie production that misrepresented their culture.” The video then shows several of the Native actors talking about that day.

Rodriguez told ICTMN he felt it was his duty to lend his talents and creativity to pay it forward.

“I wanted to help spread awareness and advertise to the world that Native Americans are not alone in this struggle. When I first heard there was a walkout earlier this year, I saw that Allie Young was among them. I had worked with Allie on her Survival of the First Voices Festival [SFVF], so I definitely wanted to reach out as well as give her organization a boost.”

Rodriguez says Sandler has not taken any responsibility for his participation in Ridiculous Six and its offensive content.

“He has not taken responsibility. He has also had the luxury to cover his tracks and omit scenes. There is documented proof that there were scenes that were offensive. I saw the movie. This type of humor is just so outdated. It just wasn’t funny.”

Native actress and SFVF co-founder Allie Young told ICTMN in an email how it felt to be a part of the video project but wrote that she had no anger toward Sandler.

“I felt that it was very important for me to be a part of this project because it sends a very powerful and positive message, and in a positive way. I'm very grateful to Roj for reaching out to me and for his vision.”

“In the video, there is no bashing of Sandler or the movie's production team. Instead it highlights our important request: Respect our culture, respect our dignity--because our people, our traditions, and our history are beautiful and sacred.”

“All in all, it's an honor to be a part of something that is really for our Native youth--the future of our people, to empower and inspire them. I got to film this project with my nephew, who you see walking alongside me in Monument Valley, and that was very emotional for me because he is being taught the ways of our people and he is connecting with our traditional way of life--a very rare thing for someone his age and in his generation,” she wrote.

Both Rodriguez and Young talked about what they hoped to accomplish with the video.

“I created this film to take an opportunity to educate,” says Rodriguez. “I want people to sit down and look at this situation as a learning and educational tool. How many people might see the R6 movie and refer to a Native woman as one of these offensive names?”

“I hope that this film will educate the world about the beauty of Native Peoples and the importance of respecting our cultures, especially for the empowerment of our Indigenous youth and generations to come,” wrote Young. “We face a very tough struggle to retain our identity but through all the obstacles, the strength and wisdom of our tribes and cultures continue a strong Native American history and legacy. I believe that our video will contribute to the strengthening of identity by bringing attention to all that is positive in the history of our people, rather than conforming to the broken and damaged image that Native American tribes are regarded as because of history written by non-Native people.”

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