Famous Okies: Wes Studi

Wes Studi
Posted at 10:57 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 11:57:02-05

Wes Studi is an American actor and film producer and he's a famous Okie!

Born on December 17, 1947, as Wesley Studi, he was born and raised in Nofire Hollow, Okla. Studi is of Cherokee descent and only spoke Cherokee until he went to public school.

After high school, Studi enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard. He later volunteered for active service during the Vietnam War and served for 12 months.

After being honorably discharged, Studi became active and vocal about Native American issues. He joined the American Indian Movement (AIM) and involved himself in several protests, including the Trail of Broken Treaties protest in 1972 and the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.

After being arrested at Wounded Knee, Studi moved back home to Tahlequah. He worked a short time at the Cherokee Pheonix, a bilingual newspaper publication from the Cherokee Nation, before shifting his focus first on becoming a horse trainer, then later on acting.

Studi would appear in his first film, The Trial of Standing Bear, in 1988. Shortly after, he appeared in two roles that changed his life: Pawnee in the 1990 film Dances with Wolves and Huron Magua in The Last of the Mohicans in 1992.

Over his decades-long career, Studi became known for his portrayal of strong Native American characters. Many have praised his acting as authentic and riveting to watch.

In 2019, Studi received an Academy Honorary Award. He became the second Native American person to be honored but the first to receive an Oscar specifically for acting.

When he is not acting, Studi is a professional stone carver, musician, and even a children's book author. He also remains an activist for Native American issues and encourages the next generation with mentorship.

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