By Angela Aleiss
One hundred years ago, Winnebago actress Lillian St. Cyr became the first Native woman to star in a feature film.
Cecil B. DeMille’s The Squaw Man was released to American audiences on February 23, 1914, and marked the first time a feature Western was made in what is now Hollywood. Lillian St. Cyr, known by her stage name “Princess Red Wing,” played a leading role as a Ute woman caught in an ill-fated marriage with an Englishman.
“She talked about DeMille a lot,” says Louis Mofsie (Winnebago) by phone from his New Jersey home. Mofsie, 77, was born in Brooklyn and lived near Lillian when she later settled in New York City. His grandmother Minnie was Lillianâ’s sister. “I think [Lillian] was very proud of her work there. She had a good time. I think she really enjoyed what she was doing,” he adds.