For Sonny Skyhawk (Young guns II, Nightbeasts) and Jaime Gomez (Nash Bridges), it’s time to bring Native American stories to the big screen. Both actors have joined forces to form Native Spectrum, a new production company focused on stories about Native American and Latinx folklore and culture. According to Deadline, the team is pitching two one-hour projects. One will be set in the multi-billion-dollar Indian gaming industry and the other will be about the murder and disappearance of Native American and Indigenous girls and women.
“Exploring these stories of the American Indian and other indigenous cultures is both artistically long overdue and good business for the entertainment industry,” said Skyhawk. “Native American folklore and contemporary culture present a limitless trove of untapped stories and characters. With a vast array of network and streaming outlets looking for original content, Native Spectrum will be a bridge to that material and creatives. We don’t want one more generation of Native American youth to feel invisible in the mass culture. Today’s challenging times underscore the need for inclusivity and unity among all people and cultures in ways we never could have anticipated.”
“I believe that the performing arts are a mirror of what society is and, more importantly, can be,” said Gomez. “In these troubled times, it’s imperative for the voiceless to be represented in the mass media. Our stories are not Native stories or Latinx stories, they are the stories of America, and are deeply woven into the tapestry of our great nation. It’s time for us to be heard.”
Skyhawk is a citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Nation of South Dakota who traces his familial lineage to Chief Spotted Tail, a Lakota War Chief. His work in the film industry dates back to the 1970s when he stood in long lines at the studios to participate as an extra in Western movies, at $15 a day “and all you could eat,” he told Indian Country Today.
During the 1980s, his on-set experience led him to found the American Indians in Film and Television (AIFT), and along with other organizations representing Latinos and Asians in the industry, he decided to coordinate strategies to change the way they were represented in productions.
“We wanted to establish ourselves within all these guilds and organizations—like the Casting Society of America—so that people knew and would use Native people rather than paint somebody down and put him out there as an Indian,” he added.
Gomez was born in Southern California, and his heritage is Latinx and Tarahumara Indian. With a successful career of over 20 years, he has become known for his role in the hit CBS series Nash Bridges playing young cop Evan Cortez and has shared sets with actors such as Denzel Washington and Harrison Ford.