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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Looking "more Indian"

Christina Ponce's father showed how short her hair had been cut

Spielberg series sued for haircut

A family from the Mescalero Apache tribe is suing the producers of a Steven Spielberg TV series for cutting their daughter's hair for the show.

The family said the hair of Christina Ponce, aged eight, was cut without regard for their tribal customs.

"It's part of our culture not to cut a girl's hair until her Coming of Age ceremony," her father Danny Ponce said.

"The only ones allowed to do that are the parents." His daughter had been acting in mini-series Into the West.

Mr Ponce added that "nobody asked for permission" before a stylist cut Christina's hair. He said he had filed his claim in the US District Court in Albuquerque.

His legal papers, which seek $250,000 (£142,000) for emotional distress and $75,000 (£43,000) in damages, named Turner Films Inc and the unknown stylist as defendants.

A Turner Films spokeswoman said the company did not comment on pending litigation.

Into the West is executive produced by Spielberg and is based on the novel by Max McCoy.

It explores the expansion of the American West through the eyes of two families - one white, the other native American.

According to legal papers filed by Mr Ponce, Christina responded through her parents last March to an open casting call for work on Into the West.

'Like a boy'

She attended a three-day shoot near Carrizozo, New Mexico.

Her hair was cut by a stylist to "make her look more 'Indian' and like a male Indian child because the movie casting call failed to produce sufficient young male extras of Indian heritage", the papers state.

The Mescalero tradition forbids cutting a girl's hair as she approaches puberty,

posted by Steve @ 12:42:00 AM

12:42:00 AM

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