Acting for me was an escape and it wasn't until Smoke Signals that made me realize that acting is a personal development and challenge to grow. Smoke Signals really mirrored the way I grew up and how I felt, and that movie was the first time I'd dealt with my parents' death and how I felt that loss and sadness and anger. After that movie I said, "Y'know what, I have to realistically wear my emotions now when I do a job. That's gotta be as real as it gets. It's not just dialogue anymore."
I'm not gonna fall. I'm tired of falling. I'm tired of seeing our people fall. I don't believe in failure. It's what we put in our minds and our hearts to succeed. And success isn't about money. Success isn't about the biggest house in the world. Success is about loving your family, taking care of your child.
I think when I started acting it was the first time I got the freedom of expression. I was able to express certain emotions and feelings that I could put into other characters, so it was a good way for me to run away from ho I personally was. I could be a ninja, I could be a pirate or I could be in a play y'know.
Ever since I started acting, I've always spoken to our people about identity. I've spoken to kids, telling them: "Where do I get my strength to push through the barriers to get me where I'm at today? It's my culture and my traditions, you know?
We [Americans] have a historical trauma when it comes to the past relationships when it comes to Native Americans and the history of how America was created. With this film, it's nice to see that the trauma is presented from a white male that was in the Civil War and that trauma affects him in a way that still exists.
Those traumas when it comes to the historical past generation to generation; our children, our grandchildren, our future grandchildren learn these behaviors. We have to know that they exist and we have to take care of those traumas and learn to heal from them. This movie shows that perspective from Scott's character, and I love it. It shows the American Indians as the ones who respect and help out when people are needed. It's a nice little twist.