PERFORMING ARTS

Starring Red Wing! The Incredible Career of Lilian M. St. Cyr, the First Native American Film Star

Bison. Nov. 2019. 504p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781496215598. $32.95. FILM
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Waggoner (Fire Light: The Life of Angel De Cora, Winnebago Artist), an author who specializes in Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) history, tells the story of a fascinating lesser-known figure from early film history: Lilian Margaret St. Cyr (1873–1974), known as Red Wing. Considered to be the first Native American film star, St. Cyr worked with other actors and actresses of the silent film era, including Mary Pickford, Tom Mix, and Dustin Farnum. Her most famous role was Naturitch in 1914’s Squaw Man, the first film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Relying on careful and copious research, Waggoner skillfully weaves St. Cyr’s story with that of early American film and Native American history. Onscreen and off, St. Cyr promoted Native American causes and culture and in her later years was regarded as a respected elder in New York City’s multitribe Indian community.
VERDICT Too few people know St. Cyr’s name--Waggoner rectifies that wrong, training a spotlight on an icon of early film who broke through barriers.

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