SAN DIEGO – A former NFL player is hoping to make a change for Native American culture in sports through film.
Jim Warne played for multiple professional football teams before becoming a stunt man, and eventually, a filmmaker residing in San Diego.
When FOX Sports got wind of his film the “7th Generation” on his Native American culture, they asked him to partner up for a social justice film, “Picture of my People,” which premiered last Thanksgiving and is scheduled to air on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year.
Warne, who produced the film, hopes it gives viewers a better understanding of why certain mascots in the world of sports are so offensive to his culture.
“Many people just say ‘Shut up and dribble’ or ‘Shut up and play, we don’t want you to be human beings with emotions or feelings, just perform for us,’ and obviously as athletes we do have a platform as advocates,” Warne explained.
Most notably, the Washington Football Team removed their ‘redskin’ mascot, but it was only after the team began losing money in sponsorships due to public outcry.
“A great day for Indian country,” Warne said. “We were very happy because when you see some of the fans in the stands and some of the things they’re allowed to get away with, that would never be allowed for other cultures.”
After the film’s premiere, it was nominated for multiple awards, including three Emmys and winning the Best Native Film category at the San Diego Film Festival.
“Athlete advocates have a role, and in my opinion, a responsibility to share those issues so that we can all grow and learn together,” Warne said. “Then they won’t see Indians as just a cartoon or a mascot, we’ll be seen as fellow human beings in America.”
Warne is working on a film in South Dakota right now called “Remember the Children,” which is about the unmarked graves of American Indian boarding school children and how technology is helping to find and bring them home.