NDSU alumnus Loren Yellow Bird of the Arikara and Hidatsa Three Affiliated Tribes is scheduled to discuss the work of Indigenous cultural experts in the production of "The Revenant,” a Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated film. Yellow Bird’s discussion is set for Thursday, May 5, at 7 p.m. in the NDSU STEM education building, room 122.
Yellow Bird was hired by New Regency and 20th Century Fox to address matters of authenticity in the film. For instance, he taught actor Leonardo DiCaprio how to speak the Arikara language necessary in different scenes of the movie.
During the filming, Yellow Bird worked closely with DiCaprio. “He was very professional,” Yellow Bird said. “He definitely had an interest in the culture and the history. He sympathized with the story lines in terms of the Native culture.”
Yellow Bird worked on set west of Calgary, Alberta, and east of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. “Later on, they got me down to Los Angeles after the post-production, so we went over the language a lot more,” he said.
Yellow Bird is a member of the Sahnish (Arikara) nation who works as a cultural resources interpreter for the National Park Service at Fort Union Trading Post. His main duty is to interpret American Indian cultures pertaining to the site. With degrees in anthropology and history from NDSU, along with his traditional knowledge, Yellow Bird is an Arikara cultural expert as well as singer.
He has worked as an adviser to other film projects prior to “The Revenant,” including productions for PBS and the History Channel.
Earlier the same day as the evening program, Yellow Bird will discuss his work for the National Park Service at Fort Union.
Yellow Bird’s May 5 appearances are hosted by the Institute for Regional Studies, North Dakota State University, as well as several departments at NDSU, and funded by the North Dakota Humanities Council.