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Museum exhibit on Hollywood

Aug 26, 2012 - From staff reports

Visitors to the Museum of the American West in Lander until the end of the month can see an exhibit that shows American Indians in Hollywood history.

Cody resident Elijah Cobb curated the photographic exhibit on Col. Tim McCoy, whose work included organizing about 500 American Indians for the "Covered Wagon" movie in 1922.

"He was sort of the go-between. He spoke Native American sign language," Cobb said. "He liked them, they liked him. He stood up for them in Hollywood."

McCoy served as the technical advisor for three films in the early '20s, Cobb said. He used 200 American Indians from the Wind River Indian Reservation and other 300 from Fort Hall.

"The 'Covered Wagon' was the first one and it was sort of the first big epic western film that broke open the genre," he said. "The show that I put up is almost entirely of the silent film era stuff."

Cobb's show consists of photographs of American Indians from the era pertaining to McCoy.

"The format of the show is I have taken the original photograph that was sent out as publicity by the studios. I show it in the original form and then I zoom in and show the Native Americans," he said."The reasoning is to get the faces to the size where you could possibility recognize them. The whole point is to see who these people were and to see if" anyone knows them, Cobb said.

Another goal is to "promote discussion about local history and genealogy: 'Hey, that looks like my uncle, maybe it's my great-grandfather,'" he said.

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