A little personal essay about my time back in the place I grew up.

Oklahoma sunset

I still remember the day my parents told me we were moving out of Oklahoma. A few days prior we embarked on a spontaneous trip to Pensacola, Florida. This wasn’t completely out of the ordinary because we had family there and would road trip from our place in northeastern Oklahoma to the beach at least once a year. I should have suspected something was going on when my dad didn’t come with us to spend a day in the sun and sand.

He appeared a little…

This is a picture of me eating tacos in Times Square about 2 months after I moved to New York. I had gotten home (which was 5 blocks from here and yes, it sucked) and my roommate wanted me to walk with her and her friend to the tourist trap but I had just ordered tacos so I brought them with me.

If you cut me open, you’ll find I’m made of pure emotion. This might not come as a surprise by those who know me because I’m a cliche — I wear my heart on my sleeve. No amount of therapy or alcohol or sleep has relieved me of these overwhelming sentiments.

For so long, I hated the emotions. They were icky, gross, and embarrassing. Too often they manifest into a good cry which is fine unless strangers around you start to stare as you sob copious amounts of salt-filled tears into your coffee as you scan the DVD section at…

Picture courtesy of HBO

HBO’s I Know This Much is True is a cathartic search at how intergenerational trauma manifests. Dominick Birdsey and his twin Thomas, both portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, represent two different end results and are the main focus of the six-episode series. As Thomas struggles to cope with paranoid schizophrenia in the early 1990s setting, Dominick walks through life as a bitter man who blames everything on his genetic makeup despite not knowing the identity of his biological father. …

‘Land of the Free’ is an odd nickname. This country was built on my ancestors’ stolen land.

A photo of an upside down American flag hanging over a dark, ominous sky in Oceti Sakowin Camp.
A photo of an upside down American flag hanging over a dark, ominous sky in Oceti Sakowin Camp.
An upside down American flag flies above Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on November 30, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

I no longer celebrate Independence Day. Sure, I love a good slice of apple pie and fireworks, but this holiday is an annual gathering to celebrate a freedom that doesn’t exist. As citizens of the so-called United States, we’ve been told to use specific days that are set aside as opportunities to think about the sacrifices and victories that historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt heroically led. We sing songs about God blessing the U.S.A. …

Because today’s Valentine’s Day, I decided to do a little writing on the 2009 romantic-comedy: The Proposal. When searching the internet for anything about the film in its relation to Native representation, I came across an interesting conversation in the comment section below the specific scene I’ll be focusing on. It was somewhere between where Mr. Justtestinghere and DistinctLlama were among those talking about how this scene with Sandra Bullock and Betty White ‘chanting’ in the woods is ‘hilarious, I played it over and over when watching the film and couldn’t stop laughing’.

Skinny_Runner5 :

As a Native American I…

The Searchers is a movie that has long been associated with other popular movies when it comes to the debate about the best pieces of cinema. Though the film first debuted in 1956 this John Ford classic is listed near the top of many critical polls, including a number seven spot on the ‘best of’ lists of the British Film Institute and Sight & Sound as well as number twelve on a similar ranking for the American Film Institute.

There is no denying that The Searchers is a beautiful piece of visual art. The parallel opening and closing shots, along…

Although director Bong Joon-ho wants to expose naivete toward Native American history, the representation is unevenly handled

Song Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek in “Parasite” (2019). Photo: NEON

Editor’s Note: This piece contains movie spoilers.

Everyone is talking about Parasite. For weeks, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who know I’m into movies would excitedly ask, “Have you seen Parasite?” then give a disappointed sigh when I answered with a polite, “No.” It wasn’t until a few pals asked how I felt about the use of Native American imagery that the film really caught my interest. The first time this occurred, I paused. …

Shea Vassar

Writer. Filmmaker. Citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Coffee drinker. Rogue One defender. Oklahoma City Thunder fan.

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