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Molly Spotted Elk - Research Paper Example

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Molly Spotted Elk (name) (subject) (professor) (date) Molly Spotted Elk The American Indian figure Molly Spotted Elk was a Penobscot Indian from Maine and someone who adopted the stage name “Molly Spotted Elk” during her career as an actress. In fact, Molly Spotted Elk was not only an actress but also a dancer, a writer and a chronicler of tales and legends from the Penobscot tradition1…
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Download file to see previous pages It is therefore believed that Molly Spotted Elk’s life was “a trail of tears” or a life of sadness and pain. Childhood Molly Spotted Elk was always believed as a “remarkable person in any light”3 just like what a former director of the Penobscot Nation Museum thought of her. Moreover, the same director thought of her life as “one of the most amazing unknown lives of any modern American woman,”4 despite the fact that she must have lived a sad life made up of several challenges. The struggle of Molly Spotted Elk must have begun early in childhood. Molly was born on Indian Island, Maine on November 17, 1903 as Mary Alice. Her mother, Philomena Solis Nelson, was a Maliseet Indian and one of the most prominent basket makers of her day. On the other hand, her father, Horace Nelson, was then a future governor of the Penobscot Nation, and was the first member of that Indian nation to go to Dartmouth College. Moreover, Molly’s grandfather had once been a chief of the Maliseet tribe in Canada5. As a child, Molly was different from her seven younger brothers and sisters for she took a great interest in learning traditional dances when she was only 13 years old. She did this in order to financially support her family6. It could have therefore been that at this time, Molly must suffered greatly from having to work for her family at such a young age. Moreover, Molly’s suffering was also evident when she scrubbed floors at night in order to be able to study anthropology during the day. She did this after entering the University of Pennsylvania without having enough money to pay for her tuition7. Moreover, she struggled to make both ends meet for her and for her family as well because she even had to send money to her family from her scrubbing work aside from having to pay for her tuition fee. In fact, “[Molly] was hungry and she needed to [perform to survive]”8 just like all Penobscot people, who themselves had to work hard and struggle. This must have been difficult for Molly herself considering the fact that she was not only a working student but also that she was a Native American Indian. Career as a Dancer When Molly was a dancer for the vaudeville troupe of the famous rodeo named Tex, she was a dancing sensation everywhere she went. However, although she was, as her family remembered, “a happy and completely free spirit”9, Molly danced even “topless”10. This must have been exciting even for her but it does not change the fact that a woman who dances topless does not care much about her image and reputation. Molly must have therefore suffered much at this point in her life. Career as an Actress In 1928, Molly Spotted Elk’s friendship with a Hollywood producer made her star in “The Silent Enemy,” one of Paramount Pictures’ last silent movies. Molly played the role of Neewa, the daughter of the tribal chief. In the movie, she was among the Ojibwa Indians who struggled against hunger, which was the silent enemy of the Indian people before the coming of the white man. The problem was that Molly had to endure the harshness and cold of the Canadian weather in the process. To make matters worse, the movie was not a success at all11. Life in Europe After the failure of “The Silent Enemy,” Molly went to Europe briefly to dance in front of the Old World Royalty, which included ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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