'We're not bending the truth, or stereotyping anybody,' sats director/star Jones.

Tommy Lee Jones Says 'The Homesman' Doesn't Stereotype Pawnee Indians


Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in The Homesman, a film set in the American West that is playing at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. At IMDB, the film's plot is described thusly: "A claim jumper and a pioneer woman team up to escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa."

At one point in the movie, the characters are attacked by a raiding party of Pawnee Indians. In an interview with The Guardian, Jones discussed whether the depiction was stereotypical. "I don't have any concerns about that whatsoever," he said. "The actors were all Native Americans of Pueblo descent … I was proud they ... looked like Pawnees, and not ashamed of the fact they were considered by our characters potentially to be homicidal. We're not bending the truth, or stereotyping anybody. That's the last thing we want to do."

In the past, Jones has said that he has Cherokee ancestry, and interestingly enough signaled his interest in directing a TV series about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School football program.

Jones also told The Guardian that current film The Homesman is "a consideration of the history of western expansion; a way of looking at what the schoolchildren of America learn when the subject of manifest destiny comes up."

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bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
We can look at movies from varying perspectives. Here are two that I can come up with. One, Hollywood will continue to produce movies that include Native Americans and it does not matter to the movie-making business - an Indian is an Indian. Two, Native Americans tribal members can play roles as another tribe and it is acceptable, ex. Wes Studi as an Apache or Pawnee. BTW/ I saw an old 1940's Johnny Weismuller (aka Jungle Jim or Tarzan) raunchy movie over the weekend. In one scene, there was an African tribe dancing in preparation for war. It was quite evident that the song and drumming was Pueblo. I kid you not. I must've been really bored over the weekend because I finally watched The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp as Tonto. I honestly found it very entertaining as Depp played his role in his usual, oddball character style. If you want it to be entertaining, I suppose you have to be in a humorous frame of mind and not take the Tonto character seriously. I would not add it to my DVD collection, but I recommend it for viewing if you haven't already done so. As for The Homesman, "save me the aisle seat, in the event I will choose to exit early."

hesutu's picture
Submitted by hesutu on
It would be helpful to know the name of the Pawnee cultural consultants they used and get an interview with them and find out what they say. I looked up the cast for this movie on imdb hoping to find what Pueblo nations we are talking about, but no native roles are listed, perhaps they were all unnamed extras. None of the Puebloan nations are related to Pawnees, they were on opposite sides of the great plains and from extremely different cultures. There are Pawnee actors out there. I wonder if they weren't informed about this casting call, or if they read the script and then chose not to participate.

rockymissouri's picture
Submitted by rockymissouri on
If there is one person who is a truth teller about the so-called 'Manifest Destiny' insanity....it is Tommy Lee Jones. He will show the truth, I wager. That's why he had trouble financing the film..and finding a studio. They were afraid of it. I am confident that he would do an honorable presentation of anything pertaining to Native Americans.