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Jay Tavare
Jay Tavare is an award winning actor whose work over the past two decades with Oscar winning directors and actors has earned him accolades and respect amongst his peers. His research and intense focus on authenticity helps him create the unforgettable characters that he brings to life.

Several of Jay's on-screen roles include:

• Pathfinder (Marcus Nispel, 2007) as Black Wing, with Karl Urban and Clancy Brown

• The Missing (Ron Howard, 2003) as Kayitah, with Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones

• Cold Mountain (Anthony Minghella, 2003) as Swimmer, Jude Law's Cherokee half-brother and fellow Confederate army warrior

• Adaptation (Spike Jonze, 2002) as Matthew Osceola, the enigmatic Seminole orchid thief opposite Meryl Streep

• Into the West (Steven Spielberg, 2005 mini-series) as Chief Prairie Fire opposite Keri Russell

• Street Fighter (1994) as Vega, the devilishly handsome and lethal Spanish Ninja

• Unbowed (Nanci Rossov, 2000) as the defiant warrior, Waka Mani *Winner* Best Actor in the American Indian Film Festival

• CSI Miami season finale*, Going Ballistic (2009) as Manny Ortega.

As guest star on the CSI Miami season finale, Jay performed all his own stunts, including an astonishing 23-story free fall which earned an Emmy nomination. His impressive repertoire of physical skills, including martial arts, dancing, bare back riding, archery and swordsmanship, gives him the rare ability to create seamlessly believable characters by preparing and performing his own stunts when the role calls for it.

Jay has a wealth of knowledge on American Indian history and culture due to his ongoing relationship and charitable work with several Indian nations. He writes a popular blog for the Huffington Post ( and is in demand as a speaker by many prestigious universities.

Jay honors the Apache and Navajo people by regularly traveling to visit the youth and participate in their suicide prevention program called “Honor Your Life” at the Mescalero Apache reservation in New Mexico. Jay is also the celebrity spokesperson for Warming Hearts and Adopt a Native Elder, a non-profit organization benefiting the Navajo elders in Utah and Arizona (

Entries by Jay Tavare

Keyboard Cowards

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 3:41 PM

I am sure you all have heard the English proverb, "sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never harm you". But I wonder if that is still true in our modern cyber connected world, with its social networks and anonymous...
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Dubai: Pearl of the Desert

(10) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 5:21 PM

I consider myself a seasoned world traveler. I have visited some of the most exotic and exciting destinations on earth, yet even I was surprised when I visited Dubai earlier this year. How does a nation go from living in the desert lands of...
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Poisoning the Sacred Lands

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 5:40 PM

If every action has an equal reaction, then I wonder what poisoning our Mother Earth will bring us? The stark beauty of the high desert in Monument Valley, reminds us how fragile life is. Man can so easily disturb the balance...
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Water is Life

(5) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 11:07 AM

2013-12-09-800pxCanyon_de_Chelly_Spider_Rock.jpgTo say water is life sounds cliche somehow, but water is one of those things that you miss real quick when you don't have it. With a planet and a human body that is 70 percent water, it becomes more apparent how...

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Apache Freedom Run

(4) Comments | Posted March 28, 2013 | 2:09 PM

Imagine you are on foot and being chased by thousands of soldiers on horseback across a desert. All you have to do to survive is stay ahead of the horses by outrunning them each day. Sounds impossible, right? But that is exactly what the Apache warriors did for decades, to...

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Olympians: Higher, Faster, Stronger

(5) Comments | Posted September 18, 2012 | 6:46 PM

When I look for real inspiration, I find no stage bigger, no drama more gripping, no story more moving than those of the men and women who compete every four years in the modern day Olympic Games. 2012-09-14-304570_10151171164120407_1153050275_n.jpgThese modern day superathletes are known as...

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Longmire: Dogs, Horses and Indians

(15) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 1:36 PM

2012-08-04-Title.jpgOnce in a while, there is a show on TV that captures more than just our attention. The new A&E cable drama series, Longmire, has done just that this past season. The series is based on the adventures of the Walt...

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Ancient Interpreters: Virgil Ortiz

(5) Comments | Posted August 6, 2012 | 12:59 PM

2012-08-03-VirgilOrtiz2small.jpgLike many people, I often think of what I would do or ask if I was in the presence of a great historic person. I remember when I had the privilege of spending time with the late Lakota Elder and Medicine man,

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The Last of Her Breed -- Elbys Onea Naiche Hugar

(21) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 5:13 PM

In American history, there have been many icons that we know about, but also a few most of us have never heard of who have had an impact on so many people in their journeys through life. Elbys Onea Naiche Hugar was one such soul.

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Winnetou: The German Apache

(20) Comments | Posted June 15, 2012 | 12:48 PM


Imagine being locked up in a prison where all you can do is read historic books about the Southwest United States and dream of how the American Indian warriors roamed the deserts of Arizona on horseback, free as the wind...

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No Kitchen Required

(20) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 1:06 PM


In two decades of working in film and television, I had never participated in a reality show, although I can see the appeal of them and the addiction that some shows inspire. However, all of that changed early this year when I was approached...

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Galactic Time Keepers

(23) Comments | Posted March 6, 2012 | 9:23 AM

Human nature never ceases to amaze me. We are a complex and contradictory species. We are the only creatures on Earth who routinely predict our own demise. Throughout history, certain dates and numbers have caused some people to live in fear that the end times are approaching.

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Indian Givers

(14) Comments | Posted December 28, 2011 | 4:06 PM

Many of us have heard or used the term "Indian givers" without knowing its real meaning. Like most cliches, the words have lost their true meaning. See, in the ancient days, if you looked too many times at another warrior's belonging, he would offer you that item as a gift...

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Divide and Conquer

(20) Comments | Posted August 24, 2011 | 5:30 PM

I remember watching an episode of the TV show Star Trek in which Captain Kirk's dilemma was how to help an alien race who were divided and in conflict. 2011-08-16-StarTrek3.jpg You see, one half of the alien population were white on the right side...

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Honor Your Life

(13) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 2:45 PM

2011-06-23-CrownDancers.jpgThere is something special about a road trip that captures the spirit of a true journey like no other mode of transportation. That was my thought Monday night as my two German partners, Alex and Thure, and I loaded up our SUV with gifts,...

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Hollywood Indians

(144) Comments | Posted May 18, 2011 | 6:46 PM

2011-05-03-Cold_Mountainsmallfile.jpgHollywood gets credit for a lot of things, both good and bad, and rightly so. It's undeniable that films influence the way the world views history and other cultures. I have heard many of my Elders say that Hollywood's portrayals of American...

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(26) Comments | Posted May 6, 2011 | 4:14 PM

There is a lot of misconception about American Indians in our world. Most of this false ideology comes from early propaganda meant to make people scared of the Indians. Later, with the advent of films and television, these stereotypes got cemented and the false images made their way all over...

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Adopt a Native Elder: When the Spirit Moves You...

(8) Comments | Posted March 8, 2011 | 5:53 PM

Who knows why we do what we do in life ... but we are all moved by an impulse deep in our hearts. When the spirit stares, it moves us into action, that is exactly what motivated me to get involved with theAdopt a Native Elder program.

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Life or Death: Teen Suicide on American Indian Reservations

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2011 | 12:41 PM

Teen suicide is beyond what most of us can fathom. No parent should have to bury their children. I have done it in my films and even that much was emotionally uncomfortable and draining.


American Indian teens take their own lives...

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A Modern Day American Indian Story

(24) Comments | Posted January 28, 2011 | 1:20 PM

I couldn't make up a more gripping story than this. It's a disturbing tale of one people's struggle against ethnic cleansing and cultural exploitation. Not fictional violence played out on the silver screen like one of my movies. Not a comfortable account of a remote holocaust far across the ocean...

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