5 April 2019

Published April 3, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio


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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


Wide-mouthed comic, Joe E. Brown gave Harry a movie extras card. “You oughta be in pictures, handsome.”

            Harry had gained notoriety in boxing, wrestling, and lacrosse. Thoughts of seeing his name up in lights enticed him.

            After playing several bit parts, he answered an audition for the new medium called television. He soon found fame to be a mixed bag of blessings and curses.  

            In 1963, Harry, now known as Jay Silverheels, founded the Indian Actors Workshop to encourage aspiring Indigenous performers to shoot for roles with better lines than, “Sheriff have sickness in head, Kemosabe—cannot fix with medicine.”   

To learn a little more about this Canadian-born hero CLICK HERE



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116 comments on “5 April 2019

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I find it hard to watch those old Westerns these days. I hate how the Native Americans were portrayed and the dialogue sets my teeth on edge. At least Tonto was portrayed by a Native while most onscreen “Injuns” were played by made up whites or Italians. There I’ve had my rant.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.



      Liked by 4 people

  • Great bit of history. A side note – I like Johnny Depp, but I refuse to see the modern movie The Lone Ranger. My opinion, a case of moving backwards by leaps and bounds – a role created by a native being played by a non-native is a no-go….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Trent,

      I refuse to see the movie for the same reason. Frankly the old Indian portrayals set my teeth on age. Knowing what I know now has ruined a lot of old movies for me. We watched a 1953 John Wayne movie the other night and ground my teeth at the actors (not Indigenous by any stretch) in the Apache roles. Moving backward by leaps and bounds. I like that. 😉 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Thank you for using your gift to bring a special light to people forgotten or bypassed. You do this so very well. And dang it, I can’t believe I didn’t know he was a Canadian Injun!

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

  • I loved Tonto, but even as a child I remember feeling he got the short end of the stick as nothing more than a tag-along for the Lone Ranger.

    I must be missing something today, though, Rochelle, because I’m not getting the connection with the photo prompt. Enlighten me?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda,

      At the very least Mr. Silverheels was a Native American portraying one. But a stilted portrayal sadly.

      As for your question, I knew someone would ask. My admonition over the past 7 years has been to write about what you “see” not what you’re looking at. How does it inspire you? Very often I begin at point A and my Google Road will take me to Point X by way of H. Yes, the story’s a tenuous connection. I went with “his name in lights.” (re the bright light in the upper left) That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

      Thank you. 😀



      Liked by 3 people

  • I’ve seen this face without knowing anything about the actor. What a great piece of history, Rochelle, and such an interesting man. I also have problems watching old films or tv shows. The casual racism and sexism makes my hair stand on edge today. I was sorely lacking awareness in the past.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Gabi,

      We certainly accepted stereotypes and racism as normal, didn’t we? Who knew that “How” wasn’t a Native American greeting. White man do speak with forked, if not ignorant, tongue. 😉 Thank you.



      Liked by 2 people

  • I love this stuff. Kemosabe is “¿Quien mas saber?” or “who knows more than you?” while Tonto means “stupid.” Not just stupid like a person, but incorrigibly stupid by nature. Hollywood was pretty effective at propagating racist stereotypes.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Josh,

    Quién is who and Qué is what. So my guess is ¿Quién más sabe? is correct. Either way, hilarious. Amen about Hollywood. My generation grew up thinking “How” was an Injun word. I did know what Tonto means in Spanish and that makes me feel incredible sadness. Particularly for someone who was remembered by his costars as a highly intelligent man.

    Muchas gracias y shalom,



  • Dear Rochelle,

    Thanks for sharing this bit of history with us. I recognize him in the photo when he’s at the mike. I didn’t know that he was Canadian or that he played Tonto. You’re right about how Native Indians were portrayed. They had so much talent and made such a difference to society. It’s wonderful to remember these remarkable people who are no longer with us.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Adele,

      The man at the mic is Joe E. Brown the comedian who did not play Tonto. 😉 Mr. Brown was the man who convinced Harry Jay Silverheels to pursue acting. He’s the one in the rest of the photos who was Native American and Canadian. Thank you.




  • I do remember always watching The Lone Ranger and Tonto. Tonto was actually my favorite character. However, I was young and so was TV. Although his portrayal was simple, at least he made progress for his race. The same happened for Asian and Black Americans. You have to start somewhere. Thanks for the history lesson. You teach me real good. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      I so appreciate your taking the time to read and comment. There are so many things we accepted back in the day that were so racist. We think of those days as innocent times. Perhaps clueless would be a more appropriate term. Thank you so much.




  • Sad but true. Stereotyping survives. I was listening to a debate only yesterday when one of our er… plumper comedians was bemoaning that plump males rarely get a love interest in television or film. And it’s true. Another historical gem – I have fond memories of The Lone Ranger at our local flea-pit.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle, that’s very interesting. I never watched the Lone Ranger, but I know what you mean, as you said in another comment about the cringe-worthy portrayal of native Americans (as well as other races). Even the headline in one of the pictures you posted “Mohawk Brave Heap Good” shows how far we’ve come, thanks in part to people like Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear David,

      The Native Americans weren’t even portrayed by real ones, with a few exceptions. African Americans had to shuffle for their pay. I hope we’ve moved on. Thank you for your confirming comments.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve never watched the lone ranger, but I understand the stereotyping of Indians and non-white minorities in acting. He seemed to be a true pioneer and the star of fame is an achievement not just for him but for others too. Paved the way forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting glimpse of a little known person who tried to make a difference. I notice your comment about fame being for him a ‘mixed bag of blessings and curses’. That seems to be a fairly frequent by-product of success in the world of entertainment. Shame. Great title by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I appreciate your spotlight on special people from the past, who were overlooked and patronised. I’ve learnt so much from reading you stories. As others have said, I remember the Lone Ranger from tv as a child. No idea who Jay Silverheels was.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hello Rochelle, I’m new to this effort. Sounds fun. Couple questions:
    (1) I don’t see how your story has anything to do with the picture. I read a couple of other stories that also didn’t. Did I miss something?
    (2) I love that people’s faces appear in their work. How do I put my picture with my link?
    (3) BTW, I’d suggest putting the name of the author instead of the title of their work. That would help in remembering names, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sabio,

      I hope you liked my story despite the seeming disconnect. 😉 Now let me explain. The story doesn’t have to be chained to the photo. It’s all about how the photo inspires you. For me the tenuous connection was the light. Ie ” Thoughts of seeing his name up in lights enticed him.” It’s all what the writer sees. The only thing I ask is that the photo be included on the writer’s page. It’s what connects us to each other.

      As for the pictures of the people…when you add your link to the inLinkz, after you add your information there’s an option to upload a photo. It’s pretty simple.

      I’ve been suggesting since the beginning that people add their name rather than their titles. I can’t really force it.

      Thank you for your comments and questions. All good. 😀




  • When I was a kid I had a Lone Ranger and Silver dolls. My reward for coming through a life changing operation. I wanted one of Tonto too but figured it would be too much to be asking my parents then 😉 Used to love those black and white TV shows then and the dolls lasted forever even when I was considerably older 😉 Gifted to a much younger kid later.
    But loved your story, how hard it must have been for Native American actors to get a break into the entertainment industry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      I used to love the old black and white TV shows, particularly Westerns. These days I can’t hardly stand to watch them for the way the Native Americans are portrayed, usually by Caucasian actors. :/ Thank you.




  • I’ve never watched The Lone Ranger, but now I want to watch it! Thank you for introducing me to Jay Silverheels. Racial stereotyping in Hollywood still exists today, even though it’s not extreme as it was before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Magarisa,

      I think there will always be roles that lend to stereotyping. But watching some of the old movies with stilted Indian dialogue delivered by made up Caucasians sets my teeth on edge. Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I always enjoy when you take us on an historical journey via the prompt. Like so many others, I was a huge fan of The Lone Ranger, but gave no thought to the typecasting and stereotyping of those times. Like you, many are hard to watch now given the dialogue.

    I’m curious, what about this picture took you there?

    Nice work, Rochelle!


    • Dear Dawn,

      I can’t say exactly how I got from Point A to Point B…well Point X by way of R. 😉 I did go to the light, so to speak. As in “seeing his name in lights.” Also the novel I just completed deals with Native American themes. Somewhere along the line Jay Silverheels came to mind and the digging began. For the longest time I’ve been annoyed over the way Native Americans were portrayed back in the day. So there I went. I hope that helps.

      Thank you for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed and took the time to say so.



      Liked by 1 person

  • The Lone Ranger is the only western I can watch anymore because, well, because when I was 4 I planned to marry Jay Silverheels. I was no fool. In our neighborhood games we all wanted to be the native. Thank you for this

    Liked by 1 person

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