Bryson Liberty: The Dalles Movie Theater Wouldn’t “Sell to Indians”

Bryson Liberty (Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla) talks about an incident in the Dalles where he and a friend were declined service at a movie theater.

Bio: Bryson Liberty is a tribal elder of the CTUIR. Liberty has a military background and is a published author, as well as working as a health administrator and actor. His article about fishing at Celilo titled “On the Rock” was published in Cowboys and Indians magazine in 2011. He was on “The Cellar,” “Northern Exposure,” and “Little House on the Prairie”.


“This friend of mine Cecil Conner, he’s from Pendleton probably, a lot of you guys have to remember him. He comes up one Saturday and says hey Lib, let’s go down and see a movie this afternoon. And I thought ‘yeah I could see a movie I’ve got money in my jeans we’ve been hitting the fish pretty good’. I thought ‘well let’s go!’ So we head downtown, he’s got an old Model-B Ford. And we head downtown, there’s only one theater I think, right on Main Street. I don’t know, the Granada or something. So he parked his old car and we walk around and head down to the theater. We come to the entrance there and he looks and he says ‘hey Lib let’s get a loge.’ ‘What’s a loge?’ He says it’s only 50 cents more. I said ‘yeah, let’s go. 50 cents, that’s probably a whole fish.’ He takes my money, puts it on the counter. ‘Two loges.’ And that lady looked at us as though we just said her grandmother wore army boots or something. She looked at us and says ‘we don’t sell loges to Indians.’ [laughs] I think back now and I didn’t know what the hell was going on. And Cecil says give us our money back. And I said ‘yeah, give us our money back’. So we got our money back left. But Cecil said they wouldn’t sell us loges because we’re Indians and they don’t want Indians in there. So I got the idea. And we headed out and went to some restaurant and got something to eat, had a good supper and headed out and went back out to Celilo.”

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