Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Springville Road Library Hosts Talk about Movie Star Chief Thunderbird Tonight

Chief Thunderbird, a movie star from the 1930s and 1940s. 

What: Chief Thunderbird: From Boarding School to the Big Screen
When: Adult program today, Tuesday, November 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Springville Road Regional Library; teen program  Wednesday, November 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m. at West End Branch Library.
Details: Grace Slaughter, a member of the Cheyenne tribe and former children's librarian with the Birmingham Public Library, will present a multimedia program on the life of her grandfather, Chief Thunderbird, a Cheyenne chief who starred in 20 movies between 1934 and 1944.

The granddaughter of Chief Thunderbird will talk about his life as a movie star and legacy as a member of the Cheyenne Indian tribe at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library tonight.

Grace Slaughter, a former children’s librarian with the Birmingham Public Library, will present “Chief Thunderbird: From Boarding School to the Big Screen,” a multimedia program about her famous grandfather. Her program for adult and families will take place tonight, Tuesday, November 5, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Springville Road Library.

Slaughter will tailor the program for teens in another talk at West End Branch Library on Wednesday, November 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Though known a Chief Thunderbird while appearing in over 20 films, he was credited only in about a half dozen major films. Chief Thunderbird was born Richard Davis Thunderbird on August 6, 1866, near Tongue River, Montana and attended the Carlisle Indian School.

Chief Thunderbird appeared in the Gene Autry film, The Singing Vagabond 

 A member of the Cheyenne tribe, he attended the Carlisle Indian School before being discovered and starting his acting career while working on the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Show. Thunderbird got his first big role in his next film, Laughing Boy (1934), where he played Laughing Boy's Father.

Read more about Chief Thunderbird’s movie career by clicking here on Wikepedia

Chief Thunderbird appeared in films during a time when Native Americans were often portrayed as evil and violent. His last role, in the feature 'The Falcon Out West' (1944), was uncredited. After his death two years later, the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles received a donation of much of the regalia he wore in films from his widow.

In 2015, the Cheyenne eagle-feather headdress he was often shown wearing, was donated to The Museum of Western Film History. The museum is located in Lone Pine, Calif. During his acting career, Chief Thunderbird also was known by various names on screen, including Richard Davis, Chick Davis, and Thunder Bird.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was an excellent program, which will be offered three more time in the BPL system during November, which is Native American Heritage Month. This program gives you an inside look at what life was really like for Native Americans who were systematically stripped of their language and culture and encouraged to become men and women instead of Indian men and Indian women. Grace's presentation is poignant and demonstrates the love she has for her family and her tribe. It includes clips from very early silent movies The Perils of Pauline" in which her great-grandfather was prominently featured.

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