Long Lance (1986) National Film Board of Canada

Long Lance

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Documentary Description

Was he a black man, a white man, or an Indian chief? This documentary looks at legendary and fascinating impostor Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance. In the early 1900s, he garnered international acclaim as a soldier, journalist, writer, photographer, bon vivant and movie star. But despite his very public life, his origins remain a mystery. Based on a book by Donald Smith, this film outlines Long Lance's almost unbelievable life story.

Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance (December 1, 1890 – March 20, 1932), born Sylvester Clark Long, was an American journalist, writer and actor from Winston-Salem, North Carolina who became internationally prominent as a spokesman for Indian causes. He became famous following publication of his bestselling autobiography, purportedly based on his experience as the son of a Blackfoot chief. He was the first American Indian admitted to the Explorers' Club in New York City. After his tribal claims were found to be false, Long Lance was dropped by social circles. He was of mixed Southeastern American Indian, white and black heritage, at a time when Southern society imposed binary divisions of black and white in a racially segregated society.

Sources: NFB & Wikipedia

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