DECEMBER 31, 1966

YAKAMA ACTOR ACTIVIST NEEHAHPOUW TACHNUM CHTUTUMNAH (NIPO T. STRONGHEART) DIED

Born George Mitchell, Jr., May 15, 1891, on the Yakama Reservation, Washington, his name meant “Messenger of Light.”  At age 11, he joined his father with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West & Pawnee Bill Shows.  When film makers went to the Carlisle School (1905), Nipo advised & interpreted for student extras.  After serving as U.S. cavalry scout on the Mexican border (1909), he worked on the film, The Heart of Wetona (1915).  Unable to serve in WWI due to injury, Nipo sold Liberty Bonds & war savings stamps.  From 1921-23, he advocated for Indian citizenship.  In 1925, Nipo helped script and acted in Cecil DeMille’s Braveheart.  On sound movies, he advised studios on accurate Native portrayals, recruited Native extras, and coached actors in Native languages.  His contributions were key in Across the Wide Missouri (1950) & Pony Soldier (1952).  Nipo founded the Inter-American Research Institute & American Indian Arts Academy.  He died in Canoga Park, Calif., and received a Longhouse burial.

Source:  “Strongheart, Nipo,” Facts on File.  Retrieved 9/19/2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20140824102245/http://www.fofweb.com/History/HistRefMain.asp iPin=ENAIT489&SID=2&DatabaseName=American+Indian+History+Online&InputText=%22scout%22&SearchStyle=&dTitle=Strongheart%2C+Nipo&TabRecordType=Biography&BioCountPass=227&SubCountPass=220&DocCountPass=7&ImgCountPass=13&MapCountPass=1&FedCountPass=&MedCountPass=14&NewsCountPass=0&RecPosition=191&AmericanData=&WomenData=&AFHCData=&IndianData=Set&WorldData=&AncientData=&GovernmentData=
Photo:  Kadel & Herbert, 5/20/1917. Public Domain.  Source: The New York Times, (New York, New York), May 20, 1917, p. 55, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/885651/stage-name-chief/.