Q’orianka Kilcher portrays Chickasaw’s performer and historical figure in the film ‘Te Ata’ | Local news
Mary Frances “Te Ata” Thompson Fisher embraced her culture and heritage across cultural barriers and became one of the greatest American performers of all time.
To tell their story on film, Chickasaw Nation Productions needed someone who embodies many of the same talents and characteristics as artist Chickasaw. Q’orianka Kilcher was a natural fit for “Bearer of the Morning”.
At the age of 14, Kilcher played Pocahontas alongside Colin Farrell and Christian Bale in Terrence Malick’s Oscar nominated film “The New World,” an epic about the meeting between English and American society in the early years. 1600.
Some of Kilcher’s other credits include the title role in “Princess Kaiulani”, the award-winning “Sons of Anarchy” TV show, as well as “Longmire,” “Shouting Secrets,” “Firelight,” “Neverland” and “Yellowstone. Kilcher both starred in and produced the movie “The Power of Few”.
In addition to acting, Kilcher is an accomplished singer and songwriter, as well as a committed human rights and environmental activist and organizer. She has used her public voice to advocate for the voiceless and many of today’s most important and relevant causes and issues.
His philanthropic and advocacy work has earned him numerous national and international nominations, awards and accolades, including the Young Hollywood Green Award, the Gandhi Award and the prestigious Brower Youth Award.
Since the age of 16, Kilcher has maintained a commitment to Indigenous rights and activism for environmental justice, as well as grassroots organizing. His character and his dedicated work for Indigenous rights and environmental justice in the Amazon was one of James Cameron’s original inspirations in creating his lead character “Neytiri” for his hit film “Avatar”. Her activism has also won the respect of many notable indigenous leaders such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, Bolivian President Evo Morales and indigenous leader Alberto Pizango.
Kilcher frequently lends her fame, voice and energy as a spokesperson and contributor to many notable organizations, such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Amazon Watch and AIDESEP. She has spoken on a wide range of topics at international conferences and panels, including the Harvard Leadership Conference, the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the International Youth Media Summit, the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), Women’s Rights by Amnesty International. and conferences on youth leadership in various countries.
Kilcher is the founder of the on-Q Initiative, Youth4Truth media and Action Hero Network, a collaboration of many small organizations, projects and “Everyday Action Heroes” within our communities who she believes are the real frontline soldiers for change. effective. In his spare time Kilcher enjoys making music and is currently recording a much anticipated album of his original songs.
The story of Te Ata
Born in Indian Territory and raised in the songs and stories of her Chickasaw culture, Te Ata’s journey to find her true calling has taken her through isolation, discovery, love and a career on stage that has resulted in performances for a President of the United States, European royalty and audiences across the world. Yet of all the stories she has shared, none is more inspiring than her own.
Mary Thompson Fisher was born on December 3, 1895, near Emet, Oklahoma. Fisher later took the stage name and became well known as “Te Ata”, which means “morning porter”. A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Te Ata was an accomplished actor and storyteller of early American stories.
At the start of her 60-plus-year career, she presented a unique one-woman show on the heritage and culture of early Americans in England and Scandinavia, at the White House for President Franklin Roosevelt, for the King and the Queen of Great Britain, and on stages across the United States.
Although Te Ata has worked as an actress and theater teacher, she is best known for her artistic interpretations of Indian stories and for her children’s book, which she co-authored.
Te Ata first learned the beauty and wisdom of First American culture from her father, Thomas, who told her a variety of First American stories, and from her mother, Bertie, who taught her useful plants and medicinal.
She attended Bloomfield Academy and graduated from Tishomingo High School. While it was unusual at the time for a woman to go to college, Te Ata got her mother’s support to attend the Oklahoma College for Women (OCW) in Chickasha.
Francis Dinsmore Davis, professor of drama and expression at OCW, recognized Te Ata’s talent and encouraged her to pursue a career in theater. After graduating in drama, Te Ata continued his education at the prestigious Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Te Ata then moved to New York City, where she appeared in several Broadway productions. Upon arriving in New York City, Te Ata stayed at the Three Arts Club, a boarding house for aspiring actresses. Most performances of Te Ata in the early 1930s were in summer camps for inner city children.
Te Ata rose to fame for telling the stories of early American tribes, not limited to her own Chickasaw stories. As her popularity grew and her performances became more frequent, other tribes sought her out to tell the stories of their heritage. Te Ata kissed them all.
Te Ata died on October 26, 1995 in Oklahoma City, although her legacy and influence on early American storytelling traditions continues to this day.
She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1957 and the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 1990. Te Ata received the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award in 1975 and declared Oklahoma’s first “State Treasure” in 1987.
The film “Te Ata”, starring Q’orianka Kilcher, tells her story of breaking down cultural barriers and changing public perception during a historically rich career that spanned from the 1920s to the 1980s .
About “Te Ata” the feature film
“Te Ata” features a star cast including Kilcher; Graham Greene (“Dancing with the Wolves” and “Northern Exposure”); Gil Birmingham (“Twilight”, “Yellowstone” and “Hell or High Water”); Brigid Brannagh (“Army Wives” and “Runaways”); Mackenzie Astin (“Wyatt Earp”, “Windsor” and “Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher”); and Cindy Pickett, originally from Oklahoma (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Guiding Light”).
In 2014, the Chickasaw Nation began telling the story of Mary Francis “Te Ata” Thompson Fisher. This feature film made about his life depicts the events of Te Ata’s journey to glory.
The film follows the youth, education and career of Thompson, who married famous astronomer Dr. Clyde Fisher in 1933. He was curator at the American Museum of Natural History and later director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.
“Te Ata” is now available to stream on Netflix.