‘Bearer of the Morning’ documents work of Chickasaw storyteller Te Ata in March release
Chickasaw Nation Productions documentary “Bearer of the Morning – The Life of Te Ata Thompson Fisher” is set for a March release.
Born in Indian Territory in 1895, Mary Thompson Fisher was known as “Te Ata” (Bearer of the Morning), during her long and distinguished career entertaining audiences across the globe.
Throughout her travels and performances, Te Ata kept her Chickasaw heritage close to her heart and shared the unique story and spirit of the Chickasaw people.
By studying and performing traditional Indian stories, she challenged negative stereotypes and advocated the preservation of Native American cultures.
The March release of the film coincides with Women’s History Month. “Bearer of the Morning” traces Te Ata’s footsteps from her Chickasaw roots in Indian Territory to the New York social scene and White House performances. It also offers details about her international travels in her later years.
Using archival footage, family interviews and Te Ata’s own words, the documentary offers a rare glimpse into Te Ata’s personal life and her personal mission to share and promote Native American culture worldwide.
Gov. Bill Anoatubby said the documentary was designed to help continue Te Ata’s legacy as one of the greatest Native American storytellers of all time.
“Te Ata was a great ambassador for Chickasaw people, Oklahomans and for all Native Americans,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “She stands as a shining example of how artistic expression can change hearts and minds in a way that helps bring people together.”
“Bearer of the Morning” runs approximately one hour. The documentary was produced and filmed entirely by Chickasaw Nation Productions. It is narrated by Peter Coyote.
While researching the project, filmmakers scoured the archives of the American Museum of Natural History, Bear Mountain State Park, and Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in New York. They also gleaned the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the Western Heritage Collection at the University of Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Council House Museum in Tishomingo, Okla., and the Thompson Family Collection.
The film includes never-before-released footage of one of Te Ata’s performances, discovered at Te Ata’s alma mater, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha. It also includes rare video footage of Te Ata’s performance at Hyde Park, N.Y., for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
In addition, several members of the Thompson family, including Te Ata’s great-nephew U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, share intimate stories of the famed Chickasaw storyteller in the documentary. History scholars and longtime acquaintances of Te Ata also provide unique insights into Te Ata’s 60-plus year career.
Te Ata’s dedication to educating children and her quest to serve as a Native American ambassador is also detailed through personal stories, photographs and rare video footage.
“Bearer of the Morning – The Life of Te Ata Thompson Fisher” will be available in March on DVD and Blu-ray.
Chickasaw Heritage Series
“Bearer of the Morning – The Life of Te Ata Thompson Fisher” is the second film released as a Chickasaw Heritage Series project. The first film, “First Encounter” chronicles the Chickasaw Nation’s initial contact with Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in the winter of 1540 and the battle that crippled the conquistador’s mission in spring 1541.
The Chickasaw Heritage Series is a video project initiative designed to inform, educate and entertain audiences about the resilient and preserving spirit of the Chickasaw Nation.
To purchase online or to find a local retailer, or for more information, please visit chickasawfilms.com.