A very popular actor.
Tribal ancestry: Cherokee. Contested by some genealogists based on his looks... - which I think is downright silly! May 6th 1999: I recently saw the claim repeated by a magazine called Cowboys ...something. Says a fan (October 2000): He has stated in TV interviews, about how his grandmother, who was a Cherokee Indian, rescued his father as an infant from the clutches of a huge eagle that tried to carry him away. He also supports Native causes and Peltier. Annie: When he was cast in Thunderheart his they had to convince the elders he really had NA ancestry, because he replaced an almost full blood NA actor in that part. They (the producers, I presume) felt the need for a well known actor...
Got an e-mail September 2001. Can't confirm this, but I'll put it up anyway: "Know Val's cousin, says they're Arapaho from New Mexico; five brothers and sisters children of Arapaho grandmother."
From a fan (October 2000): Val Kilmer IS about 1/4 Cherokee, or so I am told. He did replace an NAactor, because they wanted a name to draw people in. As far as I know, Val Kilmer's ancestors were not on the Dawes list, which is necessary to be enrolled with the BIA. The base line minnimum of Native blood that most Nations will accept is 1/4 blood, and enrollment on the Dawes list. You can be adopted in to a Nation, but if you are not on the list, you cannot be enrolled. It is a bunch of rigamarole, belive me!
Lou Diamond Phillips
(Tribal ancestry: Cherokee)
Lou is in Wolf Lake these days, the new Indian alibi in prime time Television.
07/23/98: Some controversy about him among other native actors. They say he is Filipino, which he definitely is, and shouldn't do native parts. Well, if you look at the biography on the fansite (see link below), you'll see he's a lot of things.
He was adopted by the Sioux tribe while filming Sioux City. On one level that's suspicious, unless he's from some other tribe. But on the other hand, one guy who knows him says he has a lot of respect for the Indian heritage. I doubt he would have been adopted by the Sioux if he didn't. The Sioux are very particular about their heritage!
I have also heard from people in the Native American film community that he definitely has Indian blood. That the fact that he's Filipino in itself means he has Native blood - aside from his Cherokee blood.
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