This article examines two films, Daughters of the Dust, by Julie Dash, and The Piano, by Jane Campion. While both are subversive tales that rely on unconventional narrative techniques to examine and challenge female subordination and ethnocentric ideological systems, they are simultaneously "foundational" epics that mythologize this subordination even as they attempt to resist it. Key to this process is each film's reliance on native Others to both create and sustain a space of individuality and revolt for the female protagonist. Despite significant differences in the structure and perspective of each production, in both, the indigenous characters are silenced in order to permit non-native women the right to speak and affirm themselves and their embattled identities. This article analyzes both the tensions and forms of novel representation arising from this process.