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Oklahoma Silent Movie Picked For 2013 National Film Registry

A still from the 1920 silent film 'The Daughter of Dawn.'
Oklahoma Historical Society

The Library of Congress has selected the Oklahoma movie The Daughter of Dawn as one of 25 films inducted to its 2013 National Film Registry.

The Oklahoma Historical Society says the film registry is a collection of cinematic treasures that represent important cultural, artistic and historic achievements in filmmaking.

The 80-minute, six-reel silent movie was shot during the summer of 1920 in Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge outside of Lawton.


Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the historical society, said Wednesday the movie is an American treasure and a window into the material culture of Oklahoma's Kiowa and Comanche tribes.

A statement from the OHS says the nearly all-Native cast includes 300 members of both tribes who brought their own tipis, horses, and clothing to the shoot. The film was shown only a handful of times, and was presumed lost until the Historical Society acquired the reels from a private collector in 2007. 

Comanche classical composer David Yeagley wrote an original score, which was recorded by Oklahoma City University's Symphony Orchestra in 2012.

The story and legacy of "The Daughter of Dawn" will be permanently housed at the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture, a new museum that will be located in downtown Tulsa.

“While there are many movies directed, produced and edited by, or starring Oklahomans, The Daughter of Dawn is the first narrative feature filmed in Oklahoma to be included in the National Film Registry,” said Jeff Moore, OKPOP project director. “The Library of Congress deemed this film important enough to be included in the national registry and the OKPOP Museum will share this incredible story for future generations.”

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