Camp-Horinek embraces multiple roles in life's work
Okla. Casey Camp-Horinek can sum herself up in five words:
wise, mother, grandmother, traditionalist and environmentalist.
The 61-year-old Ponca woman credits these attributes for the woman
she is today, who is a long-time Native rights activist.
is also a Native American actress, and although she has embraced
the opportunity to share her talents, she also utilizes the trade
to set the record straight about Indians.
all of those components, part of being a traditionalist is my spiritual
self," Camp-Horinek said. "I feel like a lot of times
when you pray for guidance you receive it in the most odd ways."
guidance she received led her into acting.
was able to work from my own home and not be away from my family
very much while also being able to contribute to the changing image
of Native America," Camp-Horinek said. "Many people still
see us very one-dimensionally."
gets her traditionalist roots from her parents and grandparents.
She has lived in and around Ponca City, Okla., as well as other
areas around the country, but has lived in Ponca country for the
last 40 years with her husband, Michael Horinek, who is from Newkirk,
is a proud mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all in one,
and she credits all of them for contributing to molding her into
the strong Native woman she sees in the mirror each day.
and her husband have four adult children: Julie, Mekasi, Suzaatah
first mission was being a good companion and to raise capable children,"
Camp-Horinek said. "They were raised in a traditional way of
life and are wonderful parenting children.
all raised their children in a good manner, they all lead lives
that means a lot to me. It means I've done my job."
said the traditional red woman puts her family first and Nation
we're raising children and grandchildren to be part of that
Nation," she said. "We have to be leaders in our own family
before we can expand out into helping in the general society."
form of leadership Camp-Horinek's tackled is as a Native actress.
acting roots began in Tulsa when she was a member of the American
Indian Theater Company, and she even got her sons involved by urging
them to audition for parts in the company's production of "Black
she and her two sons landed small roles in the production, non-Indian
actor David Carradine played the role of Black Elk. It was then
that Camp-Horinek had an epiphany. She realized how underrepresented
Native Americans were in the theater and movies, even in productions
about their own people. And further more, she realized that avenue
could be a medium for activism.
was a light bulb moment," she said. "There were hundreds
of people seeing "Black Elk Speaks" at the PAC (Performing
Arts Center,)" she said. "I was seeing these people impacted
by entertainment and getting it our holocaust. I thought,
Oh my goodness, this was a remarkable tool for educating the
Native actors still only make up a sliver of a racial statistic
pie graph compared to Caucasians, Hispanics, blacks and Asians,
but they're out there, she said.
struggles that people have gone through over the past 20 years to
teach non-Natives that we are multidimensional, that's paying
off," Camp-Horinek said. "We're getting lead roles,
but believe me, it isn't enough if you look at the entire movie,
TV and video industry. They show you the slices of the pie
Americans are a hairline."
years later after the veterans of theater and the movie industry
like Will Sampson, Graham Greene, Wes Studi and Camp-Horinek paved
the way, young Native actors are landing key roles in large productions
such as the wildly popular Twilight Saga and primetime TV dramas.
been an actress for more than 25 years, with titles including "Lakota
Moon," "Geronimo," "Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded
Knee" and "DreamKeeper" under her belt. She also
appeared in "Goodnight Irene" and "Share the Wealth"
and was one of the leads in the 2009 movie "Barking Water."
Her performance in "Barking Water" earned her the Best
Actress award at the 2009 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.
insists that her acting career just tells a small story of who she
only a fraction of me," she said. "I definitely consider
myself an actress, and it's something I feel is important to
change the portrayal of Native Americans.
worked hard to portray Native women in their true life. I'm
proud of the ability to do that. I do understand that acting is
hard work and an art. Technically I'm not the first, and I
thank God I'm not the last."