The Daughter of Dawn is a silent movie made in 1920. It is the first full length movie of an American Indian story, and that uses all American Indian actors.

It was filmed in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma, and involves Comanche and Kiowa Indians. The story is part legand and part fiction, and includes all the major aspects of Indian life that form today’s image of the old days. These aspects include a buffalo hunt (probably the first in a movie using real Indians!), dancing, a brawl (between Indians), and of course, a love story involving a test of courage. The only thing it doesn’t have is the US Cavalry–thank the eagles for that one!

Being filmed in 1920, in black and white, there are living relatives of the actors among the Comanche today. In the film, there are elderly people, as well as younger people. The elderly, in 1920, are from the wild, free days. This is an awesome thing. A person of but fifty years, in the movie, was alive in 1870–before the last of the free Comanche surrendered at Ft. Sill. A person 60 years old, in the movie, would have been living during the last of the wars. This is incredible. There are several elderly people pictured in this movie. The film is still being researched.

You can see the Indians’ way of dressing, their style of conversing (lots of sign language, and the use of incessant hand gestures–something Comanche were famous for), and above all, their style of horse riding. No saddles. No metal in the bridles. It is rather impressive, to say the least. (Source)

Red Earth Festival adds sculpture exhibit; helps Oklahoma City become epicenter of American Indian culture this weekend

The festival will offer the world premiere of “Daughter of Dawn,” a 1920 silent film regarded as the first to star an all-Indian cast. It was shot in the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma, said deadCenter Executive Director Lance McDaniel. The film stars 300 Comanches and Kiowas, including the son and daughter of great Comanche leader Quanah Parker.

Screening at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, “Daughter of Dawn” has been restored by the Oklahoma Historical Society and includes a new musical score by Comanche composer David Yeagley.

"Daughter of Dawn," an 80-minute, six-reel silent film shot in 1920 in the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma featuring an all-American Indian cast, will make its world premiere Sunday as part of the deadCenter Film Festival. Photo provided by the Oklahoma Historical Society. (Source)

VIDEO The Daughter Of Dawn

A Native American Love Story excerpt

A 1920 Silent Film A Comanche Media Project

Responses to "The Daughter of Dawn, a 1920 Silent Film (Video)"

  1. Robert Bob Maeurer Sr says:

    What a beautiful story.

  2. Nana J says:

    Oh I loved this can you obtain a copy ?

  3. Paula Mann says:

    Love this, would like to get a copy.

  4. I wish I was able to attend this event in person, and here is information on how our goals are to support Indian Country and so much more.

  5. Unfortunately we are in Canada for this would be fascinating to attend and get a chance to see the Elders who were the last of the old school , Despite I will try to obtain a copy for us and for my Mother who is Ojibwe and French Canadian who i know would appreciate witnessing the closest thing to old time culture that can be found today on film Mee-Gwetch ...

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ohitika Win would love a copy of this film. Wish someone would put it out on a DVD for all to be able to see. I would love it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Read this last year, which includes a credit for the first musical score written for a film by a Native American, Dr. Yeagley, credit not given in the article above:

    Daughter of is the new, official web site for the 1920 silent film, “Daughter of Dawn,” by Norbert Miles. This unique film portrays an Indian story, with an all-Indian cast, and all filmed in the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma. The film was rediscovered and restored by the Oklahoma State Historical Society, Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director. The film includes a new, original symphonic score by Comanche composer, Dr. David A. Yeagley, commissioned by the OSHS. The first public preview of the film and music was at the Dead Center Film Festival, in Oklahoma City, June 10, 2012. It was also screened at the Santa Fe Native Cinema Showcase, August 18, 2012, during the annual Indian Market. Many screenings have followed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So thrilling that this film was recovered. I hope to purchase it one day.

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