Edwin Carewe born as Jay John Fox

In Manhattan, New York City, we find listed as Indian one Jay John Fox who says his professional name is Edwin Carewe and he is the director of Motion Pictures for Metro Film Corporation.  His wife is listed as Mary Jane, and his birth date is given as March 5, 1883.  So how did Jay John Fox, an Indian, get to Manhattan???  It’s a long way from Texas.  Did he do well or was he one of the proverbial starving artists waiting tables to play bit parts?

Jay, aka Edwin did quite well for himself.  Has a very long list of productions to his credit.  He died at age 56 in 1940.  You can read more about him at both of these links:

http://www.freebase.com/view/en/edwin_carewe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.html?curid=4451730

No place in any information about Jay/Edwin does it say anything about Native heritage, so I had to wonder, was this a stray checkmark on the part of the registrar?  However, after some additional digging, I found in the book “Making the White Man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies” by Angela Aleiss that Edwin and both of his brothers, Finis and Wallace who were also writers/directors and producers in the film industry were all listed on the 1907 Chickasaw Rolls of the 5 Civilized Tribes.  That seems to be something few knew, or if they did, they elected to downplay.  Perhaps it was safer for his career that way.  Hard to believe by looking at his photo, but this man, and his brothers, were “people of color” at that time in our history and subject to the inherent discrimination and limitations that came along with that label.

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About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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3 Responses to Edwin Carewe born as Jay John Fox

  1. k495071@yahoo.com says:

    He looks like my Dad’s family…really!

  2. A. M. Alis says:

    Don’t think he hid his Native heritage deliberately. As a film historian, I believe he did not want to get “typed” into Westerns. Carewe made films in many genres, and to play up his Indian status could only peg him as a Western director. For the type of movies he did, his Indian heritage didn’t really play into it at least as far as American audiences would care. But Carewe was most likely the most prolific Native American director Hollywood has seen–years before Chris Eyre!

  3. Erique Coggins says:

    I wish there were more information about him available. His vision and his work are critically acclaimed. But not much is currently available to fully appreciate him.

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