American Indian Task Force

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Ken Howard Remarks, at his First official Guild “Event”

President’s National Task Force for American Indians member Caucus – September 28, 2009

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National Task Force

President's National Task Force for American Indians

Established by American Indian performers in January 2007 to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of American Indian performers in the Motion Picture, Television, Advertising and Multi-Media Industry, the task force will be chaired by and populated by individuals recognized and respected by the American Indian Community for the true advancement of the American Indian performer. The task force believes that a heightened awareness and commitment to fair employment practices on the part of industry decision makers will lead to an expanded use of the American Indian performer in features, television, commercials and other multi-media, thereby realistically reflecting the American Scene.

The Task Force will:

  1. Increase employment opportunities by expanding the range of character portrayals and eliminating negative stereotypes.
  2. Recommend and implement projects/programs to raise the industry’s level of awareness concerning the spiritual, cultural, and traditional uniqueness of the American Indian.
  3. Recommend and implement outreach programs that will educate, empower and organize Indian Country in the entertainment industry.
  4. Recommend and implement outreach programs to American Indian youth to create opportunity for new talent.
  5. Unify the Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Casting Society of America and agent representation to establish in the industry a policy of presenting American Indian characters on screen in true relation to contemporary American life.
  6. Create equitable levels of compensation, benefits and working conditions for the American Indian performer through the accepted participation of the committee’s national chair in the collective bargaining process.
  7. Recognize the exclusive and unique relationship American Indians have with the United States Government through the Constitution of the United States.

With the respect and acknowledgement of our ancestors and elders, this task force will work to be organized and unified in the entertainment industry for the advancement of all American Indians.


On September 28, 2009, newly minted SAG National President Ken Howard made his first public appearance at an American Indian Membership Caucus hosted by SAG National President’s Task Force on American Indians. In addition to President Howard’s first remarks to members, a partial screening of “Trail of Tears” from the critically acclaimed PBS series “We Shall Remain” was presented, followed by an informal panel discussion with casting director Rene Haynes, actor Russell Means, actor Tonantzin Carmelo, SAG President’s National Task Force Chair Delanna Studi and SAG Affirmative Action & Diversity National Director Rebecca Yee.

For press release of this program, click here.

For more information about PBS “We Shall Remain,” click here.