He played Tonto in the 1980 movie "Legend of the Lone Ranger;" the deadpan Deputy Hawk on "Twin Peaks" and was a voice in the movie "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron." Memorably to my daughter, he played Ranger Sam Rainwater in "The Wild Thornberrys" cartoon. In movies, he says he is often the wise Native character who points to the ground and intones, "Don't dig there."
But today in Santa Fe we heard Michael Horse talk about "ledger art," which refers to paintings made on paper by Native people who scrawled on maps, marriage certificates, love letters, sheet music, railroad forms, whatever was handy, to express "the freedom, bravery, and repression of reservation life." Horse compares ledger art to the advent of the blues. In his own approach to the form, he adds a twist of irony. For instance, one of his works, Prayer for Peace, is composed on a copy of the Preamble to the Constitution.
Ledger art, he says, is comprised of "pictures of dreams." In the distant past, Native peoples depicted courtship, features of battle, meteor shows, and so on by drawing or painting on bone, rock, buffalo hides. But when the Native people adapted to Anglo civilization, they expressed their culture shock on paper.