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Te Ata (TAY' AH-TAH) is based on the inspiring, true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a woman who traversed cultural barriers to become one of the greatest Native American performers of all time. Born in Indian Territory, and raised on the songs and stories of her Chickasaw tribe, Te Ata's journey to find her true calling led her through isolation, discovery, love and a stage career that culminated in performances for a United States president, European royalty and audiences across the world. Yet of all the stories she shared, none are more inspiring than her own.
Te Ata (2016) was directed by Nathan Frankowski, The film follows the life of a remarkable woman, Te Ata Thompson Fisher of the Chickasaw Nation. It's worth checking Wikipedia to learn about Te Ata, who was a truly a unique woman.
Q'orianka Kilcher, who portrays Te Ata, is also a remarkable woman. Her father is of indigenous Peruvian descent. She spent many years in Hawaii, and she has absorbed the indigenous Hawaiian culture as well.
The film is historically accurate. The Chickasaw nation was unwillingly forced to become part of the state of Oklahoma. In the early 20th Century, prejudice against Native Americans was as strong in Oklahoma as it was throughout the United States.
What makes this movie so interesting was that Te Ata rose above these prejudices to present the stories of indigenous people to the rest of the world. She performed in the White House and before the King and Queen of England. She is the type of person whose life cries out for a film biography, and I believe this movie does her justice.
We saw Te Ata at the Rochester's excellent Little Theatre. It was presented as part of the wonderful High Falls Film Festival: Celebrating Women in Film. This movie is both entertaining and important. It will work better in a theatre than on the small screen. However, even on a small screen, it will repay your effort to seek it out and see it.
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