Images August 25, 2017

Wesley “Wes” Studi (Cherokee: ᏪᏌ ᏍᏚᏗ) (born December 17, 1947)


Wes Studi, Vietnam

According to wiki he was drafted in 1967 and served 18 months in Vietnam. Eighteen months indicates a six month extension.

His own bio says he enlisted:
“Wes joined the U.S. Army and while stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, stories from returning Vietnam War veterans set his blood on fire. With only 12 months of his six-year service left, Wes volunteered to go to Vietnam. He served one tour in South Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta, living his own future war stories. At one point his company was pinned down in the Mekong Delta – and nearly killed – by friendly fire.”

Was there anything particularly memorable that you experienced that really stuck with you?

WS: Yeah. I’ve told this story before … I served with the 9th Division in the Delta area of South Vietnam and … {Laughs} Actually, I remember a number of things, but one thing that has stayed with me is that I think government policy sort of really entailed a lot of things … a very good memory, as well, because, at one time … First of all, there were only three of us, in my entire company, that were Native American. One day, the three of us found out that, for no particular reason, we had the day off. And everybody else, more or less, had gone off on this mission to do something … I don’t know, whatever it was that they told us, really, ‘You guys just go and take the day off’.

We found out the next day what the mission had been. It was to go in and relocate an entire small town. A village, I guess you’d call it, a small village, but … They went in with very long helicopters … I forget what you call them …with this huge net, spread them out, and told the entire village to put all their belongings in there. So they loaded up and moved them all to a different area and told them this was their home now. The only thing that I can of course equate to that was the fact of the removal that we, as Cherokees had… and these other guys probably had similar things as well … So, I figure that the Army and the U. S. Government, either by mistake or a darn good memory, gave us the day off. Make sense to you?

Wesley “Wes” Studi
Wesley “Wes” Studi (Cherokee: ᏪᏌ ᏍᏚᏗ) (born December 17, 1947) is a Cherokee actor and film producer from Nofire Hollow in Oklahoma.[1] He has won critical acclaim and awards for his portrayal of Native Americans in film.[2][3] He has appeared in Academy Award-winning films, such as Dances with Wolves (1990) and The Last of the Mohicans (1992), and in the Academy Award-nominated films Geronimo: An American Legend (1993) and The New World (2005). He is also known for portraying Sagat in Street Fighter (1994). Other films he’s appeared in are Heat, Mystery Men, Avatar, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and the television series Penny Dreadful.

Early life and education
Studi was born Wesley Studi in a Cherokee family in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma, a rural area in Tahlequah named after his mother’s family.[4] He is the son of Maggie Studie, a housekeeper, and Andy Studie, a ranch hand.[5] Until he attended grade school, he spoke only Cherokee at home.[6] He attended Chilocco Indian Agricultural School for high school and graduated in 1964; his vocational major was in dry cleaning.[7] In 1967, Studi was drafted into the Army and served 18 months in Vietnam. After his discharge, Studi became politically active in American Indian activism. He participated in the Wounded Knee Incident at Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973.[6]

Studi appeared in his first film, The Trial of Standing Bear, in 1988.[4] He is best known for his roles as ruthless Native American warriors, such as a Pawnee in Dances with Wolves (1990), and Magua in The Last of the Mohicans (1992).[6][8] A year later, he was cast with Eric Schweig for TNT’s film The Broken Chain, about the historic Iroquois League that was based in the area of central and western present-day New York state. It was shot in Virginia. This was part of a group of productions shown over 14 months on TNT as its “Native American initiative”, including three television movies and several documentaries. A six-hour history series was told from a Native American perspective.[3] In 1993 Studi had the lead in Geronimo: An American Legend.[9] He showed a talent for comedy as the superhero Sphynx in the 1999 film Mystery Men.

In 2002, Studi brought to life the character of Lt. Joe Leaphorn, for a series of PBS movies based on Tony Hillerman’s novels set in the Southwest among the Navajo and Hopi. It was produced by Robert Redford. In 2005, Studi portrayed a character based on chief Opechancanough, leader of the Powhatan Confederacy in Virginia, in the film The New World directed by Terrence Malick. On April 20, 2009 Studi appeared as Major Ridge, a leader of the Cherokee before removal to Indian Territory, in Trail of Tears. This was the third of five episodes in the PBS series We Shall Remain, portraying critical episodes in Native American history after European encounter,[10] part of the public television’s acclaimed series American Experience, where Studi spoke only in native Cherokee. In 2009, Studi appeared in James Cameron’s science fiction epic Avatar. He played Eytukan, the chieftain of a Na’vi tribe.

Personal life
After his studies, he taught Cherokee language and syllabary and helped found a Cherokee-language newspaper. He went into ranching. After his first marriage ended in divorce, Studi left ranching and started to study acting – a friend had recommended it as a place to meet women.[3] Studi married again – he and his wife Maura Dhu Studi moved their family to a farm near Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1990s.[3] They have a son, Kholan. Studi has a daughter, Leah, and a son, Daniel, from his first marriage.[11] Studi and his wife perform in the band “Firecat of Discord”. More recently, in Santa Fe, Studi serves as honorary chair of the national endowment campaign of the Indigenous Language Institute.[4]


1994, Won a Western Heritage Award (shared with cast and crew) for Geronimo: An American Legend (1993).[9]
1998, The Dreamspeakers Film and Festival honored Studi with its Career Achievement Award.[4]
2000, Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Golden Boot Award.[4]
2000, Artist of the Decade at the First Americans in the Arts Awards.[4]
2005, The New World was nominated for an Academy Award.
2013, Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers – Western Heritage Award, Oklahoma City, OK

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