Truth vs. Twilight

The Truth Versus Twilight

Misrepresentations Gone Wild

Made famous by the recent pop-culture phenomenon Twilight, the Quileute people have found themselves thrust into the global spotlight. Their reservation, a once quiet and somewhat isolated place, is now a popular tourist destination for thousands of middle-school-age girls and their families. In the wake of the popularity of the book and film saga, the Quileute Tribe has been forced to negotiate the rights to their own oral histories, ancient regalia and mask designs, and even the sanctity of their cemetery.

Quileute responses to the Twilight book and film series have been as diverse as the community itself. Some have enjoyed the newfound public interest in their culture, while others find the whole story and all the attention distasteful. And still others are not interested in the hype and see this phenomenon as a phase that will fade soon enough.

In collaboration with the Quileute Tribe, this site seeks to inform Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and others about the real Quileute culture, which indeed has a wolf origin story, a historic relationship with the wolf as demonstrated in songs, stories, and various art forms, as well as a modern, multi-dimensional community with a sophisticated governance system. We also hope to offer a counter narrative to The Twilight Saga’s stereotypical representations of race, class, and gender, and offer resources for a more meaningful understanding of Native American life and cultures.

The High Price of Fiction

The phenomena of the Twilight series has had vast economic benefits for Summit Entertainment, Stephenie Meyer, the tiny town of Forks, Washington, and even Nordstrom department stores, but the Tribe whose culture was represented for background fodder in the teenage love story, has seen little benefit. In addition to shedding light on the appropriation of Quileute culture, we wish to expose how the Twilight saga has presented a skewed version of modern Native American life and to offer visitors to this site an alternative perspective with links to resources for a more meaningful understanding of Indians in the modern era.

Site Collaborators

Truth Versus Twilight is a collaboration between the Burke Museum and the Quileute Tribe.

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