Wiping the War Paint off the Lens traces the history of Native experiences as subjects, actors, and creators, and develops a critical framework for approaching Native work. Singer positions Native media as part of a larger struggle for "cultural sovereignty"-the right to maintain and protect cultures and traditions. Taking it out of a European-American context, she reframes the discourse of filmmaking, exploring oral histories and ancient lifeways inform Native filmmaking and how it seeks to heal the devastation of the past. Singer's approach is both cultural and personal, provides both historical views and close textual readings, and may well set the terms of the critical debate on Native filmmaking.
Beverly R. Singer is a filmmaker and director of the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies at the University of New Mexico.