By Alex Torres
Last semester, I had the privilege of taking Dr. Amanda Morris’s class, Native American Women Writers. Her class provided a deep look into the barrier-breaking and impactful lives of female indigenous writers.
Before I took this class, my knowledge of indigenous people and culture was limited to Disney’s Pocahontas and Peter Pan. However, after watching and rewatching the biopic film “Te Ata,” about the famed Chickasaw storyteller, my interest in learning about the true nature and history of indigenous descent grew.
While her class does delve deep into Native American women writers, as the class name implies, she also taught us about indigenous women of other professions such as poets, dancers, actresses, etc. But no matter the profession, they all fell into the same passion of storytelling.
Speaking as a storyteller and feminist myself, I was given great chances to research other famed indigenous storytellers both academically and for my own personal enjoyment. I’ve looked into various empowering indigenous women such as Amber Midthunder, the lead actress of 2022’s “Prey”; Tabitha Fair, successful Chickasaw pop, country and gospel singer; Irene Bedard, Disney’s Pocahontas’s voice actress; and I looked more into Te Ata’s story beyond the biopic film.
Many of the inspiring indigenous women I’ve learned about have gone through trials and tribulations like everyone else, but their stories haven’t been told enough due to the media’s gross misrepresentation and lack thereof, as well as our country’s history of covering up and distorting their culture and overall existence. This class forever impacted my life, and if you want a better understanding about badass women of indigenous descent, take Dr. Morris’s class next semester.
“It is imperative to open people’s minds to new things. Ignorance breeds fear, and the only way to conquer that is to make the unknown known.” – Te Ata Movie Quote (2016)