The tradition of ‘painting down’ white actors and actresses playing Native American characters persisted long after it became unacceptable for them to play black characters.
Native American includes not only ‘Red Indians’ from Westerns, but also South and Central Native Americans, including Maya, Inca and Aztec women.
IMATS UK (2008): In a highlight demonstration on the Saturday at IMATS UK 2008 Neill Gorton and Rob Mayer transformed blue-eyed blonde Karen Spencer into an elderly Chinese woman; on the Sunday she was transformed into a Native-American chief on the MillenniumFX stand.
Kevyn Aucoin photoshoot (2000): Kevyn Aucoin transformed Tori Amos into Ton’ingina, a cherokee with tan skin and long brown hair. This was one of two images of Tori Amos intended to ‘focus attention on her multi-ethnic background’ which included both Scots and Cherokee ancestry – the second image portrayed her as Mary, Queen of Scots.
The Legend of Walks Far Woman (1982): Raquel Welch fought hard to get this film about a Blackfoot woman made and shown; it was filmed in 1979 as a three-hour movie but was not scheduled for screening for another three years, and then with twenty minutes cut; even then, at the last instant, another fifteen minutes were cut – by simply ditching the last reel apart from the final scene. The result was all too predictable: a disjointed mess with an incomprehensible ending. Except for Raquel, in the title role, and one white character all the actors were either Native Americans or Mexican-Americans. Del Armstrong was the makeup supervisor; Hallie Smith-Simmons was the makeup artist.