Redface is the wearing of makeup to darken or redden skin tone, or feathers, warpaint, etc. by non-Natives to impersonate a Native American or Indigenous Canadian person, or to in some other way perpetuate stereotypes of Indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States. It is analogous to the wearing of Blackface. In the early twentieth century, it was often white performers, who wore blackface or redface when portraying Plains Indians in Hollywood Westerns. In the early days of television sitcoms, "non-Native sitcom characters donned headdresses, carried tomahawks, spoke broken English, played Squanto at Thanksgiving gatherings, received 'Indian' names, danced wildly, and exhibited other examples of representations of redface".
Redface has been used to describe non-Native adoption of Indigenous cultures, no matter how sympathetic, such as the painters in the Taos Society of Artists during the early 20th Century portraying themselves in their own works wearing Indigenous clothing.
Often associated with the behavior of sports fans of teams with Native American names or mascots, "redface" has also been used to describe "Indian" Halloween costumes that are seen as offensive by Native people, or imitations of sacred headdresses worn as fashion accessories.
Westerns were a popular film genre from the 1930s to the early 1960s. A common plot involved conflict between Native Americans and the cavalry, settlers, or both. Native Americans were usually portrayed by non-Natives in redface.
Espera Oscar de Corti, an Italian-American, had a decades-long career portraying Native Americans as Iron Eyes Cody.
Beginning in the late 1960s, westerns attempted to depict a more realistic and balanced view of the Old West in movies such as Little Big Man. However, the casting of non-Native Johnny Depp as Tonto in Disney’s 2013 revival of The Lone Ranger was labelled as "redface".
The James Fenimore Cooper novel The Last of the Mohicans was filmed many times. Not until 1992 were Native Americans cast in all the major roles in the story of Uncas son of Chingachgook who was the last "Mohican" until he was killed by Magua, a Huron chief. The actual Mohicans continue to live in the Hudson River Valley.
|1920||Theodore Lorch||Wallace Beery||Alan Roscoe||American|
|1920||Béla Lugosi||Kurt Rottenburg||German|
|1932||Hobart Bosworth||Bob Kortman||Frank Coghlan Jr.||American Serial|
|1936||Robert Barrat||Bruce Cabot||Phillip Reed||American|
|1947||Buster Crabbe||Rick Vallin||American, retitled "Last of the Redskins"|
|1965||José Marco||José Manuel Martín||Daniel Martín||A Spanish/Italian production done in the style of a Spaghetti Western, the character Magua is renamed "Cunning Fox"|
|1965||Mike Brendel||Ricardo Rodríguez||Daniel Martín||German: Der letzte Mohikaner|
|1977||Ned Romero||Robert Tessier||Don Shanks||Romero was of Chitimacha ancestry|