SPOKANE, Wash. — A movie written by Inland Northwest native Sherman Alexie and filmed in spots throughout the Inland Northwest has been named to a list of America’s most influential films.
“Smoke Signals” is generally considered to be the first feature film written, directed and produced by Native Americans. It is based on Alexie’s 1993 book “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and won numerous accolades, including a Sundance award.
Now the movie has earned a spot on the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry because of its “cultural, historic and aesthetic importance." A film’s selection to the registry ensures that it will be preserved for all time.
“Smoke Signals” was filmed in areas throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho, according to the Internet Movie Database. Those locations include the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation in Plummer, Idaho, Worley, Idaho, Coeur d’Alene and Soap Lake, Washington. An old bus station on Sprague Avenue was also used for filming. The suspension bridge that connects Spokane to Riverfront Park also made an appearance in the film’s conclusion.
Other films selected for the National Film Registry include “Brokeback Mountain, “Jurassic Park,” “My Fair Lady,” “Cinderella,” and “The Shining.”
Alexie, one of the most prominent authors and poets in the United States, is a Spokane Indian who was raised on the reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. He faced controversy in March after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.
"Over the years, I have done things that have harmed other people, including those I love most deeply," Alexie said in a statement released to The Seattle Times. "To those whom I have hurt, I genuinely apologize. I am so sorry."