loren yellow bird

NDSU Alumnus Works with ‘The Revenant’

loren yellow bird

Loren Yellow Bird, an NDSU graduate and Arikara scholar, played an important role in the making of an Oscar-winning film.

“The Revenant” received universal acclaim from audiences and critics. It won three Golden Globe awards and three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio: his first.

Accuracy is paramount in historical dramas. Indigenous languages, such as Arikara, are used in “The Revenant” when appropriate. Yellow Bird acted as a linguistic consultant during the making of “The Revenant” to ensure a historically accurate portrayal of indigenous characters.

The film dramatizes the true story of trapper and explorer, Hugh Glass, who was abandoned by his companions after a grizzly bear attack. He survives and bears severe injuries and harsh conditions to exact revenge.

Yellow Bird is a member of the Arikara, or Sahnish, tribe. He grew up in White Shield, N.D., on the Fort Berthold Reservation. He earned degrees in history and anthropology from NDSU and has worked as a park ranger and cultural interpreter at Fort Union Trading Post for over 15 years.

He is a prominent scholar of Arikara history and has delivered lectures at colleges and universities around the country.

Yellow Bird was forwarded an e-mail from “The Revenant” personnel calling for indigenous actors. He contacted the film’s production staff and was subsequently hired as a linguistic consultant and technical advisor.

He was present during filming and editing sessions and worked closely with DiCaprio, who uses the Arikara language throughout the film. Additionally, Yellow Bird provided voice-overs for many of the indigenous characters who were not familiar with Arikara.

Yellow Bird continues to work at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, southwest of Williston, N.D., as a cultural resource interpreter and park ranger. Along with the ranger position, Yellow Bird also continues to further research Plains Indian culture and history.

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