June 2, 2016
The Oklahoma Historical Society to Host a DVD Release Event for the Film “The Daughter of Dawn”
On July 14 the Oklahoma Historical Society will host a release party for “The Daughter of Dawn” at the Oklahoma History Center. The program will begin at 6:00 p. m. The film is an 80-minute, six-reel silent film shot in May, June, and July of 1920 in the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma. The DVD will be available for purchase at the event. In 2014 the OHS partnered with Milestone Films out of New Jersey for distribution of "The Daughter of Dawn." The movie has been shown at several film festivals over the last two years.
At the July 14 event OHS Executive Director Bob Blackburn will share the story of how this 96 year-old film was saved, preserved, and now shared with the world. Clips of “Daughter of Dawn” will be shown. Matt Reed, Curator of American Indian Collections at the Oklahoma History Center, will discuss the historical context revealed in the movie. The OHS will also be recognizing the many partners that helped to make the DVD possible.
"While there are many movies directed, produced and edited by, or starring Oklahomans, "The Daughter of Dawn’" is the first narrative feature filmed in Oklahoma to be included in the National Film Registry," said Jeff Moore, OKPOP project director. "The Library of Congress deemed this film important enough to be included in the national registry and the OKPOP Museum will share this incredible story for future generations."
The film features an all-Indian cast of 300 Kiowas and Comanches. These people, who had been on the reservation less than fifty years, brought with them their own tipis, horses, clothing, and material culture. The Daughter of Dawn is played by Esther LeBarre. Her character is the daughter of the Chief of the Kiowas, played by Hunting Horse. The two young men who are romantically interested in her are White Eagle, played by White Parker, and Black Wolf, played by Jack Sankadota. Another integral character is Red Wing, played by Wanada Parker. Both White Parker and Wanada Parker were children of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker.
The film includes a significant tipi that is currently on exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. The tipi in the movie was renewed in 1912 with images painted by Haungooah or Silverhorn and Stephen Mopope, one of the Kiowa Five. That very tipi was given to the Oklahoma Historical Society. The exhibit will be open to the public the night of the program.
The film features special music composed and performed for the showing. The original music composition is by David Yeagley. The score is performed by the Oklahoma City University Orchestra: Ben Nilles, Conductor; John Cross, Music Editor; Mark Parker, Dean of the School of Music; Robert Henry, OCU President.
The script for the movie was developed by Norbert Myles, an actor, writer, and director brought into the project by Richard Banks, who started the Texas Film Company in 1916. Myles wrote on the cover of his script that, "This story has been made possible by R.E. Banks, whose knowledge of the Indian, and of his traditions, was gained during the twenty-five years that he lived with them."
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 31 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.