Five Things You Didn’t Know about Wes Studi

If you know anything about Native Americans, you know that they have gotten a pretty raw deal ever since the first colonists arrived in the early 17th century. The history between the US government and natives is full of bloodshed and broken promises. Plus, they have been on the receiving end of a lot of racist ideas and actions. Native Americans continue to be oppressed to this day. That is why it is so important that they have a voice in the public light. Luckily, Cherokee actor and film producer Wes Studi is a perfect guy to have on their side. He has a lot of influence over the American public, especially because he is so recognizable.

Studi is well-known for playing strong Native American characters in various films. He has appeared in the Academy Award-winning films Dances with Wolves and The Last of the Mohicans. In addition, he played in Street Fighter, Avatar, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and the TV series Penny Dreadful. Wes Studi is definitely one of the top American Indian actors, and he ranks among the best of all actors as well. He also uses his position in the limelight to advance his platform that supports Native Americans all over the country. If you want to learn more about him, read on as we go over Five Things You Didn’t Know about Wes Studi.

He Was at Wounded Knee

The Wounded Knee incident was a protest that occurred in 1973. Essentially, a whole lot of Lakota Indians and their supporters seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. It was a reactionary response to the failed effort to impeach Richard Wilson, a tribal president. It also took a secondary position against the US government, criticizing the failure to uphold treaties that it had made with various tribes. Wes Studi attended the protest, and even got himself arrested for fighting for what he believed was right.

He Is a Vietnam Veteran

When Studi was seventeen, he joined the Oklahoma National Guard. After speaking with some Vietnam veterans, he volunteered for active service. He was deployed with the 9th Infantry Division, and went on a tour of duty for eighteen long months. He returned from the war a changed man, and immediately got started in activism.

He Is Trained in Dry Cleaning

Despite being a prolific actor and director in modern times, Wes Studi originally studied dry-cleaning. This was his vocational major during his attendance at Chilocco Indian Agricultural School. He graduated in 1964 with more dry-cleaning knowledge than he would ever use. Thankfully, he went into films. He would have been wasting away in some shop somewhere, and the world never would have known his talent.

He’s Fluent in Cherokee

Wes Studi grew up in a home where only Cherokee was spoken. Hence, it is what he considers his own native language. For the first five years of his life, he communicated solely in this language (he learned English when he started attending school). In addition, when he went to college he started a Cherokee newspaper and taught the Cherokee language to others. Clearly, his origins are a source of great pride for him.

He’s a Musician

One little known fact about Wes Studi is that he is a touring musician. He and his wife formed a band called Firecats of Discord, in which he sings and plays bass. They play a lot of top 40-influenced songs, ending up with a variety of country, pop, blues, and reggae-style music. Though they play all over the United States, they tend to stick to the Indian casinos or in the Santa Fe area.

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