In year 2002, I was working at a tiny equine center in the middle of nowhere in Texas. This was the time of the year when Texas is really hot and muggy. So I spent most of the time inside my aircon trailer. Luckily, my good texan friend Jim Yanaway, lent me a book titled ”Comanches – The Destruction of a People” written by T.R. Fehrenbach (1974).
My friend also happened to have the business card for Wallace Coffey, the Chairman of Comanche Nation. They had incidentally met at a rodeo in Forth Worth several years earlier. Jim thought the card might come handy some day. Next year, we were off to Lawton in Oklahoma, the headquarter for The Comanche Nation.
In the Comanche Chairman´s office, I was introduced as a documentarist from Norway who was overwhelmingly interested in making a film about the Comanche. At that point I felt like a social anthropologist from hell.
The Chairman took me for a ride in his shiny black Lincoln Town car. He introduced me for an enormous amount of people at the annual Comanche Elder Day. There suddenly, in the midst of the crowd, a person tapped me on my shoulder and asked ”Do you wanna come and sweat tonight?”.
My journey in Comancheria had started, and in that sweat lodge I met several Comanches who a year later would act in the film. The Scouts is more or less acting themselves, preparing for a sweat lodge. The Chief is acted by Wallace Coffey, Chairman of the Comanche Nation. The Medicine Man has real medicine. Myself, I´m also acting in the film, together with my husband, we appear as The Seeking Visitors. The Trickster is played by the crossbreed dog Beau. But the Trickster can take all kinds of shapes, and one never knows what the trickster is up to.
I followed the aesthetics of a trickster with a movie camera, and the slippery questions of what is real, what is scripted, who is speaking, and who is in charge got blurred. Who is cheating whom became an open question.
In this case, Comancheria is the perfect place to be. The Comanche country is a frontier between facts, fiction, propaganda and myth.
Buffalo Bill´s Wild West Show, and later the Western and the Road Movie were invented in this area. All the geographical names are familiar. You can drive through the Wichita Mountains, take a pit stop in Medicine Park as did Bonnie and Clyde. Further down the road you pass Fort Sill where Geronimo is buried, still lacking his skull since George Bush grandfather stole it back in 1917. Going south, you head towards the Red River. And right there, at the river bank, Comanche Red River Casino glooms in the horizon.
In this landscape, reality is just a visual effect. The real is reduced to a shaky handheld camera with bad sound. In the end, it is all about catching a certain spirit.
By blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction, the spirit of a new Comancheria came forth.