LAW OF THE PLAINSMAN/NBC/ABC/1959-62
*(Michael Ansara) Sam Buckheart, a full-blooded Apache Indian who took on the
responsibilities of Deputy U. S. Marshal in the New Mexico Territory of the
1880's. Educated in Harvard with monies inherited from a grateful Cavalry
officer he had once known, Sam Buckheart returned to his childhood homeland near
Sante Fe with hopes of serving his people and upholding the Constitution of the
U.S.A. He worked under the supervision of Marshal Andy Morrison. See also BROKEN
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRIZZLY ADAMS/NBC/1977-78
**(Don Shanks) Nakuma, an Indian blood brother of mountain man Grizzly Adams
living in the rugged western landscape of the 1800s. Nakuma helped build a cabin
for James "Grizzly" Adams when he first arrived in the wilds.
THE LONE RANGER/ABC/1949-57
*(Jay Silverheels/costar) Tonto, a young American Indian from the Potawatomi
tribe who discovered the wounded body of Texas Ranger John Reid, the lone
survivor of an outlaw ambush. After Reid recovered, Tonto became his faithful
companion battling evil in the old American west. Tonto called the Lone Ranger "Kemo
Sabe" which means "Trusty Scout" or Faithful Friend". (The term was derived from
the name of a boys camp called "Kee-mo-Sah Bee"). Jay Silverheels, a real Mohawk
Indian, and the son of a Mohawk chief, was born in Ontario, Canada in 1920 at
the Six Nation's Indian Reservation. During the 1930's he was encouraged by
actor/comedian Joe E. Brown to consider a movie career. He later went to the
United States on a Golden Gloves boxing tour and became a leading contender in
that sport. While there, he began acting in the movies. His first film was
"Captain From Castille" (1947) followed by "Key Largo" (1948), "Yellow Sky"
(1949), The Cowboys & The Indians" (1949). While he starred as Tonto on THE LONE
RANGER series, his movie roles continued in "Broken Arrow" (1950), and "Walk the
Proud Land" (1956). He made cameo appearances on a variety of TV commercials in
the 1960 and 1970s. The character of Tonto debuted on the 10th episode of the
radio version of THE LONE RANGER series in the 1930's. His voice was supplied by
John Todd. In the subsequent movie spin-offs, Tonto was played by Victor
Daniels, a full-blooded Cherokee, with a stage name of Chief Thundercloud. In
the summer of 1979 Jay Silverheels was the first North American Indian to be
honored on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame His star was placed between
MacDonald Carey and Frank Sinatra. Jay Silverheels died March 5, 1980 from
pneumonia and multiple complications.
**(Ron Soble) Dirty Jim, a renegade Indian who befriended a family of five
pioneer orphans living in the rugged wilds of the Wyoming Territory in the
*(Robert Forster) Deputy Nakia Parker, an American Indian caught between modern
technology and ancient Indian customs who worked as a law enforcement officer in
Davis County, New Mexico. John Tenorio, Jr. appeared as Half Cub, an American
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN/NBC/1968-69
**(Cartoon Character) Injun Joe (voice of Ted Cassidy), a murderous renegade
Indian who swore to kill Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher for testifying
against him in court. An animated Injun Joe pursued the children each episode.
The series was inspired by the works of Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain).
**(Larry Chance) Black Wolf, Native American Indian involved with explorer and
Indian fighter Major Robert Rogers during the French and Indian Wars (1754-59)
in New York State and Eastern Canada. Also featured was Lisa Davis as Natula.
**(Darren E. Burrows) Ed Chigliak, a movie obsessed Native American teen living
in the small town of Cicely, Alaska who helped a newcomer doctor adjust to
culture shock by translating the peculiarities of the people of this small
northern town. Later in the series, Ed studies to be a Shaman. Born September
12, in Wichita, Kansas, Burrows is one-quarter Cherokee and one-quarter Apache.
To get the part for the series he dyed his dish-water blond hair dark. Another
Native American cast member was Elaine Miles who played Marilyn Whirlwind, a
short, plump and pragmatic Eskimo woman of few words who volunteered to help
yuppie Dr. Joel Fleischman run his rural medical office. Born April 7th, in
Pendleton, Oregon, Elaine Miles (half Cayuse and half Nez Perce) was raised
outside the Seattle area as a member of the Umatilla tribe. Elaine's mother,
Armenia Miles, played the role of Mrs. Anku, Ed's Chigliak's aunt and wife of
the local medicine man. Other Native American cast members included Julian Fox
as Indian Chief Ronkonkoma; Frank Sotonoma Salsedo as Ed's Uncle Anku; William
J. White as Dave, the tavern cook; Floyd Red Crow Westerman as "One Who Waits,"
a wise old spirit seen only by the Indians; Dana Andersen as Lightfeather, a
red-haired preacher's daughter; Rosetta Pintado as Mrs. Noanuk, a tribal elder;
Bryson Liberty as Ira Wingfeather, a flute carver; and Graham Green as Leonard
Quinhagak, Marilyn's cousin, a Shaman healer. The Indians on the program
celebrated Thanksgiving as the "Day of the Dead" with traditional costumes,
parades and throwing tomatoes at white people. On episode “Our Tribe” Mrs.
Noanuk initiated the Jewish Dr. Fleischman into their Indian tribe and called
him “Heals With Tools.”
**(Dehl Berti) John Taylor, an American Indian friend of an ex-gunfighter living
in the old western town of Paradise. As John Taylor once said, "People just call
me ..."that Injun." Berti was born in Pueblo, Colorado. His father was a
Chiracahua Tindee Apache.
PISTOLS N' PETTICOATS/CBS/1966-67
**(Lon Chaney, Jr.) Chief Eagle Shadow, one of three Indians featured on this
comedy western set in Wretched, Colorado. The others included Marc Cavell as
Gray Hawk and Alex Henteloff as Little Bear.
*(Kurt Russell/costar) Morgan "Two Persons" Beaudine, a captive white boy raised
eight years by the Cheyenne Indians until freed by the U.S. Army. The series
focused on the reunion of "Two Persons" with his brother, an aspiring physician
and their joint effort to locate their sister Patricia who was captured by
Indians some years before.
RACHEL GUNN, R.N,/FOX/1992
**(Bryan Brightcloud) Zac, a Native-American male nurse working at the
Nebraska-based Little Innocents Hospital. He had previously done a tour of duty
*(Guy Marks/costar) Pink Cloud, a cowardly American Indian who preferred the
white man's life style of comfort vs. teepee living. He is the assistant to an
inept Texas Ranger named Rango stationed at Deep Wells Ranger Station in the
late 1800s. Pink Cloud is also the name of a character which appeared on the
sitcom GUESTWARD HO!
*(Louis Letteri/costar) Little Beaver, a young American Indian companion and
sidekick to the western lawman, Red Ryder. His catchphrase was "You betchum, Red
Ryder". This 30 minute western was based on the radio program of the same name.
*(Branscombe Richmond/costar) Robert "Bobby" Sixkiller, a smooth talking bounty
hunter of Indian descent. Kathleen Kinmont appeared as Cheyenne Phillips,
Bobby's beautiful, blond half-sister who was a whiz with a laptop computer.
RIDERS IN THE SKY/CBS/1991-92
**Princess Little Running Bear who lived on a reservation near Tumbleweed Valley
and was friend to the cowpokes at Harmony Ranch. Her full title was "Princess
Little Running Bear who frolics in the cradle of the mighty waterfall". But, as
she said "You can call me princess".
THE ROLLER GIRLS/NBC/1978
*(Marilyn Tokuda/costar) Shana "Pipeline" Akira, an innocent Eskimo-American
member of an all-girl roller derby team known as "The Pittsburgh Pitts."
THE ROY ROGERS SHOW/NBC/1951-57
*(Roy Rogers) Roy Rogers, a rough and tumble sheriff in the fictional town of
Mineral City. Roy Rogers, the star of the series was by birth part Choctaw
Indian. He adopted a little Indian baby named Dodie at the Hope Cottage
orphanage in Texas in 1952.
SHINING TIME STATION/PBS/1989-95
**(Tom Jackson) Billy Two Feathers, Native American railroad engineer and
handyman who at the enchanted Shining Time Railroad Station from 1991-1993.
SMILIN' ED'S GANG/NBC/ABC/1951-55
**(Nino Marcel) Little Fox, a young Sioux Indian brave (a storybook character)
who appeared in filmed segments during this popular 1950's children's show.
STAR TREK: VOYAGER/UPN/1995-2001
*(Robert Beltran/costar) Chakotay, Starship First Officer of North American
Indian descent stationed aboard the starship Voyager. Once the leader of the
terrorist group called The Maguis, Chakotay joined forces with a Federation
starship Captain to return to the Alpha Quadrant (after being transported
against their will across the galaxy). Chakotay sported a triangular shaped
tattoo over his left eye. He wore the tattoo to honor his father (played by
Henry Darrow), who wore the same tattoo design to honor his ancestors, The
Rubber Tree People of Central America. Chakotay was inspired to get his tattoo
when his father was killed by the Cardassians. The episode entitled "Tattoo"
explained the story behind the tattoo and his ancestors who were once visited by
an alien race 45,000 year ago. These aliens, referred to as the Sky People,
visited a nomadic Eskimo tribe on Earth and influenced their development. The
tribe eventually migrated to the rain forest and became The Rubber Tree People.
From time to time the Sky People revisited Earth to see how the Indian tribe was
progressing. In honor of their outer space benefactors, the Rubber Tree People
adopted the Sky People's triangular tattoo as a tribal symbol. NOTE: On episodes
No. 152 "Descent-Part 1" of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/SYN/1987-94 a
starship USS Crazy Horse was mentioned. It took its name from Crazy Horse, the
Lakota Sioux chief, and one of the important North American Indian leaders at
the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
*(Ted Bessell/costar) Donald Hollinger, reporter of Newview magazine based in
New York City. Donald notes he is part Cherokee Indian in the series pilot. His
hometown is St. Louis.
**(Michael Horse) Deputy Tommy "The Hawk" Hill, longhaired American Indian
policeman working in the Pacific Northwest community of Twin Peaks. Hawk, the
son of a Zuni Shaman, was very wise with the heart of a poet. Michael Horse's
heritage actually was a combination of Yaqui and Apache Indian, Swedish and
**(Abel Fernandez) Agent William Youngfellow, a full-blooded Cherokee Indian
working with the elite squad of undercover federal policemen (U.S. Treasury
Dept) known as "The Untouchables" whose job was to bust the organized crime
syndicates of Chicago in the 1930s.
**(Will Sampson) Chief Harlon Two Leaf, a pony-tailed American Indian who
occasionally helped private investigator, Dan Tanna track down clues and
criminals amidst the glitter of Las Vegas, Nevada. In April, 1987 at the age of
53 years, this 6 foot 2 inch tall Native American Indian awaited a heart-lung
transplant at Methodist Hospital in Houston. He suffered from Scleroderma, a
WALKER, TEXAS RANGER/CBS/1993-2001
*(Chuck Norris) Cordell "Cord" Walker, a half-white/half-Indian modern day Texas
Ranger. Cord is athletic, devoted to law enforcement and a karate expert. His
colleagues included his black partner Ranger Jimmy Trivette; C.D. Parker, a
retired Ranger and tavern owner; attorney Alex Cahill, Cord’s girlfriend and
later wife; and Ray Firewalker, Cord’s Native American uncle who raised Cord.
Walker’s parents were killed at a carnival when he was a young boy. They died
defending themselves from three racist thugs who objected to a white woman being
married to a full-blooded Cherokee. Ray nicknamed Cordell “Washoe” [Cherokee for
WAR OF THE WORLDS/SYN/1988-90
*(Richard Chaves) Lt. Colonel Paul Ironhorse, a West Point trained special
forces officer of Cherokee descent who assisted in the detection and destruction
of the Mothren alien life form that had invaded Earth.
*(X Brands/costar) Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah, a silent Pawnee American Indian sidekick of
gambler/adventurer Yancy Derringer who operated out of the city of New Orleans
in the 1800's. Pa-hoo-Ka-Ta-Wah meant "Wolf who stands in water". Although he
was short on talk, he was long on action. Beneath a blanket wrapped about his
body, he carried a shot-gun which he used in emergencies. Most of the time
however, he used a throwing knife sheathed on his upper back to subdue the bad
guys when the situation warranted it. Jay X Brands (his full name) was once
honored by Brummett Echohawk, a spokesman for the Pawnee Indians when a letter
to Hollywood producers commended Brands (a Caucasian of German-Dutch descent)
for his authentic performance and his ability at speaking the tribe's language.
**(Will Sampson) John Stronghart, a Native-American ranch hand working on a
modern-day West Texas spread known as the Yellow Rose.
YOUNG DAN'L BOONE/CBS/1977
**(Eloy Phil Casados) Tsiskwa, a Cherokee Indian living in the Kentucky frontier
of the 1800s who was a friend of the then young frontiersman, Daniel Boone.
THE YOUNG RIDERS/ABC/1989-92
**(Gregg Rainwater) Buck "Little Buck" Cross, half white/half Indian working in
the old west for the pony express riders. Buck's Indian heritage was part
Cherokee and part Osage. However, Gregg Rainwaters background is half Kiowa.
Rainwater got his start on the daytime serial DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
Other Programs of Interest
HOW THE WEST WAS LOST/DIS/1993
Taped in 25 states, Mexico and Canada, this six-part Discovery Channel p.o.v.
documentary told the Indian side of American History from Revolutionary times to
the present interspersed with comments from descendants from such proud Tribes
as the Cherokee and Iroquois Nations. Narrated by Peter Thomas. (60 Minutes)
KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL CAMPAIGN (TV Commercial)
*(Chief Iron Eyes Cody) Chief Iron Eyes
Cody, a Cree-Cherokee Indian and
activist, who starred in a "Keep America Beautiful" public service campaign
commercial (a coalition of companies involved in glass, aluminum, paper,
plastic, tobacco and solid-waste) with the Chief surveying the wonders of Nature
only to find them filled with pollution. In the now classic scene, the camera
zoomed into follow the trail of single tear that flowed from the Chief's eye as
he lamented the scarred landscape. This ad spot, created in 1971 by the Marsteller agency, moved a generation to stop throwing garbage out of their car
windows, and sent the message that individual consumers should take on the
responsibility of not polluting the landscape. In 1996 the New Orleans
Times-Picayune published documentation saying Iron Eyes Cody was actually a
second generation Italian-American from Louisiana, but Cody vigorously denied
the allegations. On January 4, 1999, actor Iron Eyes Cody, who appeared in 100
films, died in Los Angeles. He was 94.
- K /
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