On Saturday, Cherokee actor Wes Studi will become just the second Native American actor inducted into the 'Hall of Great Western Performers' at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The other, Jay Silverheels, famed for playing Tonto on the Lone Ranger television series and in movies, was inducted in 1993.
Alsoo being inducted on Saturday are non-Native actors Duncan Reynaldo (1904-1980), known for his roles as the Cisco Kid; Leo Carrillo (1881-1961), who played the Kid’s sidekick, Pancho, and Robert Mitchum (1917-1997). In an interview with the Santa Fe New Mexican, Studi quipped that his inclusion is extra-special because, out of the class of 2013, “I’m the only one who’s still alive.”
Studi's best-known films include Dances With Wolves (1990), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), and Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), in which he played the Apache leader. More recently, he was prominently featured in Avatar (2009) and the AMC western series Hell on Wheels.
Studi will have a number of films in theaters in 2013 and 2014, but draws particular attention to Road to Paloma for its relevance to current events. “It’s basically an action-biker kind of movie,” he told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “But its core story has to do with domestic violence against women on reservations in Indian country by people not of the reservations or Indian country and the ability of tribal authorities to actually prosecute those crimes. While we stepped up a little bit in terms of the Violence Against Women Act that was signed within the past month … it’s a very small half-step in the right direction.”
This summer, he'll be filming what one would expect to be a very different kind of Western, A Million Ways to Die in the West, a comedy written and directed by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.