Smoke Signals

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Smoke Signals is a 1998 film about two Native American men who take a journey to recover the ashes of one man's father. It was directed by Chris Eyre and based off the collection of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie.

Victor Joseph[edit]

  • Thomas, you are so full of shit.
  • You want to look like you just came back from catching a fish? This ain't Dances with Salmon, you know.
  • Thomas, don't you even know how to be a real Indian? How many times have you seen Dances with Wolves? 100...200 times? (Thomas hangs his head in shame) Oh Jesus, Thomas, you have seen it that many times?

Thomas Builds-the-Fire[edit]

  • You know, there are some children who really aren't children at all. They're just pillars of flame that burn everything they touch. And there are some children who are just pillars of ash that fall apart when you touch them. Victor and me, we were children of flame and ash.
  • Some days, it's a good day to die. And some days, it's a good day to have breakfast.
  • Geez Victor, I guess the warrior look doesn't work everytime.
  • All I know is that when your father left, your mother lost you too.
  • How do we forgive our fathers? maybe in a dream do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often or forever when we were little? maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all. Do we forgive our fathers for marring of not marrying our mothers? For divorcing or not divorcing our mothers? and shall we forgive them for their excess of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning for shutting doors for speaking through walls or never speaking or being silent? Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in their or in their deaths saying it to them or not saying it? If we forgive our fathers what is left. ("How do we forgive our fathers" by Dick Lourie)


Randy: Good morning, this is Randy Peone on KREZ radio, the voice of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation. And it's time for the morning traffic report on this rainy Bicentennial Fourth of July. Let's go out to Lester Falls Apart in the KREZ traffic van broken down at the crossroads.
Lester: Big truck just went by. Now it's gone.
Randy: Well, there you go folks. Looks like another busy morning.

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Hey Victor, I'm sorry about your dad.
Victor Joseph: How'd you hear about it?
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: I heard it on the wind. I heard it from the birds. I felt it in the sunlight. And your mom was just in here crying.

Velma: Hey Thomas, need a ride?
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Yeah!
Velma: What are we goin' to trade for it? We're Indians, remember? We barter!
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: A story.
Velma: Better be good.
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Arnold got arrested, you know. But he got lucky. They charged him with attempted murder. Then they plea-bargined that down to assault with a deadly weapon. Then they plea-bargined that down to being an Indian in the 20th century. Then he got two years at Walla Walla.
Lucy: What do you think?
Velma: I think it's a fine example of the oral tradition.

Velma: You guys got your passports?
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Passports?
Velma: Yeah, you're leavin' the rez and goin' into a whole different country, cousin.
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: But... but, it's the United States.
Lucy: Damn right it is! That's as foreign as it gets. Hope you two have your vaccinations.

Police Chief: This man apparently wants to press charges against you. He said you assaulted him and pushed him to the ground.
Victor Joseph: That's bullshit.
Police Chief: Mr. Joseph, there's no need for that type of language. Mr. Johnson's wife Holly says he's, and I quote, "a complete asshole". So, you two are free to go.


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