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Website gives young 'Twilight' fans the facts about Quileute people

  • Alex Meraz (left) Kiowa Gordon and Chaske Spencer portray the shape-shifting Native Americans in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

    Summit Entertainment/Kimberley French

    Alex Meraz (left) Kiowa Gordon and Chaske Spencer portray the shape-shifting Native Americans in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

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By Jackson Holtz
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Alex Meraz (left) Kiowa Gordon and Chaske Spencer portray the shape-shifting Native Americans in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

    Summit Entertainment/Kimberley French

    Alex Meraz (left) Kiowa Gordon and Chaske Spencer portray the shape-shifting Native Americans in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

With all the buzz about the latest Hollywood installment of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1," officials at Seattle's Burke Museum created a website that distinguishes fact from fantasy.
The site is called, "Truth versus Twilight," and provides history, cultural information and resources to learn about the real Quileute Nation.
In the fantasy series, both in the Twilight novels and films, the Quileute are portrayed as shape-shifting, wolf-embodying Native Americans who run bare-chested and barefoot through the woods. "Twilight" is a big hit among adolescent girls who pine for the sexy teen stars, especially werewolf Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner.
Many kids make a pilgrimage to Forks, where the stories are set, to catch a glimpse of their fictional characters, said Dr. Deana Dartt-Newton, the curator of Native American Ethnology at the Burke.
While the town has benefited from the surge of tourist dollars, many Quileute tribal members believe they've been marginalized from Twilight benefits, she said.
On the website Twilight fans can learn that the Quileute cannot turn into wolves, which isn't a big surprise. But there is a connection between the tribal traditions and the wolf. In the "Fact vs. Fiction" section of the website, people will learn that tribal legends say the nation was founded by a pair of wolves who turned into humans, not the other way around.
There's much more too, Dartt-Newton said.
People can learn about native traditions, and how Native Americans have been portrayed -- or misrepresented -- by Hollywood in the past.
Parents can find books and movies that aren't fantasy but still capture the appeal of Forks and native cultures, she said.
The Quileute have deep traditions, a thriving culture and certainly are very different from Jacob Black's famiy in the movies.
"They're just like you and me, and they're not monsters and not mysterious," Dartt-Newton said. "We're hoping that (the site) inspires some critical thinking in these young people."
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; jholtz@heraldnet.com.
Learn more
"Truth versus Twilight" is at wwww.burkemuseum.org/truth_vs_twilight.
Story tags » MoviesAmerican Indian

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