June 28, 2016
Oklahoma Historical Society to Host a DVD Release Event for “The Daughter of Dawn”
OKLAHOMA CITY — On July 14 the Oklahoma Historical Society will host a DVD release party for the film “The Daughter of Dawn” at the Oklahoma History Center. The program will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public. 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 shared with the world. Clips of “The 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. Thomas and Mac Silverhorn, grandsons of the artist Silverhorn and nephews of Charley Buffalo, will speak about the film and their family. The OHS will also be recognizing the many partners that helped to make the DVD possible.
“While there are many movies directed, produced, 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 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 50 years, used their own tipis, horses, clothing and material culture during the filming. 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 gallery will be open to the public on the night of the program.
The film features special music composed by David Yeagley and performed by the Oklahoma City University (OCU) Orchestra under the direction of conductor Ben Nilles, with support from music editor John Cross; OCU School of Music Dean Mark Parker; and OCU President Robert Henry.
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, “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 film will be available for $29.95 for DVD format and $34.95 for Blu-ray. Included with the film are documentaries on the history of the film, the American Indian history and material culture depicted, the Wichita Mountains, the buffalo herds that still run free in the area and the one tipi in the movie that exists today.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 30 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.