By Suetopka Thayer
Tuba City School District
Native Actors Tim Sampson, George Aguilar and Jonathan Joss were at the Eagles Nest Intermediate School and Tuba City Alternative School to present examples of their creative problem solving and helpful suggestions for ways to motivate students towards more productive lifestyles.
Tim Sampson, who bears an almost clone like resemblance to his actor father, the late Will Sampson, gave a very calming and straightforward presentation by using metaphors from the acting profession. He told the students that his profession has helped overcome his original shyness and gave him the courage to study music and singing to help him go after roles that called for specialized skills. “You must be secure in who you are as natives and students, there is a lot of rejection in my profession and that must not discourage you. In my field, you must be able to take direction and when you are given advice from a knowledgeable person, you must also be able to take this direction. “
Sampson encouraged the students to branch out and develop a variety of skills to help them in their career choices. “Don’t be afraid to try something new, to learn something new.”
Jonathan Joss and George Aguilar gave examples of how their cultural values as natives in the acting profession have sometimes cost them roles when they took a stand for issues that would portray natives in a less than complimentary light. George Aguilar discussed the power of communication and equitable treatment for native issues. This was especially true when he would find himself competing with non–natives for roles that should have a genuine native actor.
He suggested that students be fully fluent in not only their own native language but that knowledge about the English language was also helpful in negotiating their opinions and values to an outside community.
Sampson related that actor/producer David Carradine also taught him to speak from the heart and speak about what he knows best. While Sampson will continue to work with film and television in its current venue he has more importantly begun his own approach into writing and producing his own material and creating his own opportunities.
A good example of creating your own opportunities as a native screenwriter has been proven by author Sherman Alexie and the film “Smoke Signals.”
Woody Begay, the current Director of the Tuba City Alternative School was pleased to have native role models for his students to talk with one-on-one and give living examples of how varied a career choice could be for his students. The students listened intensely, laughed at the actors observations of working in Hollywood and stereotyping and asked for autographs after.
Delbert Bird, a close friend of the actors as well as the coordinator of the presentations made in TC District, was pleased with the student response. “Its good for the kids to see our own people in the creative arts field. It lets them know that this is an area that is open to their interests.”
For more information please call Tuba City Public Relations at (928) 283-1072.