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Indigenous Popular Materials & Resources

Film & Television


Welcome to the Film & Television tab!
Here you will find popular Indigenous films and television as well as research tools for these topics. 

The Research Tools box can be found on the side panel, with databases, articles and websites among other resources. We also offer sections on selected Film and Television suggestions to check out and a couple of LibGuides in our See More box with additional pages you can look into for more information. 

Native Americans have "remained one of America's most marginalized minorities" (Boyd 2015) who are repeatedly reflected in popular culture and film/television unfavorably. Most representations depict Native Americans in harmful stereotype roles or depict some as 'good' only when they assist or befriend white characters. Of the hundreds of tribes that exist, film tends to depicts a generalized culture that takes none of these into account and ignores each of their distinct cultures and histories. However, there has been a growing movement to uplift Native American voices in film and television, resulting in some of the first accurate depictions being portrayed by Native people, for Native people.

Boyd, Julia. "An Examination of Native Americans in Film and Rise of Native Filmmakers." Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 6.1 (2015). <>

Q'orianka Kilcher stars in the title role of the famed Chickasaw storyteller in the film "Te Ata."


Barking Water (2009)

Hoping to see his daughter and grandchild, a terminally ill man (Richard Ray Whitman) embarks on a road trip with his former lover (Casey Camp-Horinek).

Smoke Signals (1998)

Arnold rescued Thomas from a fire when he was a child. Thomas thinks of Arnold as a hero, while Arnold's son Victor  resents his father's alcoholism, violence and abandonment of his family. Uneasy rivals and friends, Thomas and Victor spend their days killing time on a Coeur d'Alene reservation in Idaho and arguing about their cultural identities. When Arnold dies, the duo set out on a cross-country journey to Phoenix to retrieve Arnold's ashes.

Blood Quantum (2019)

The dead are coming back to life and almost all of Earth's population are decimated due to a zombie virus, except for the isolated Mi'kmaq reserve of Red Crow, whose indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019)

After a chance encounter on a busy street, a woman decides to bring a pregnant domestic abuse victim home and encourages her to seek help to navigate the aftermath of the traumatic event.

Words From a Bear (2019)

Native American writer N. Scott Momaday discusses his life, work and inspirations.

Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013)

In 1976, a Mi'gMaq teenager (Devery Jacobs) plots revenge against the sadistic Indian agent (Mark Antony Krupa) who imprisoned her in a residential school where rape and abuse are common.

Biidaaban: The Dawn Comes (2018) (Short/Animation)

Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes) is a Canadian animated short film, directed by Amanda Strong and released in 2018.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (2017)

Filmmaker Catherine Bainbridge examines the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history. She exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how indigenous musicians helped influence popular culture.

Kayak to Klemtu (2018)

Kayak to Klemtu is a 2018 drama about a teen girl who goes on a long kayak trip with her extended family in order to speak out against an oil pipeline.

Indian Horse (2017)

A Canadian First Nations boy survives in a residential school in the 1970s.

Wind River (2017)

Cory Lambert is a wildlife officer who finds the body of an 18-year-old woman on an American Indian reservation in snowy Wyoming. When the autopsy reveals that she was raped, FBI agent Jane Banner arrives to investigate. Teaming up with Lambert as a guide, the duo soon find that their lives are in danger while trying to solve the mystery of the teen's death.

The Lesser Blessed (2012)

A teen (Joel Nathan Evans) from Ticho tribe tries to rise above the drugs and violence that threaten to pull him down.

Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock (2017)

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota captures world attention through their peaceful resistance against the U.S. government's plan to construct an oil pipeline through their land.

Keepers of the Game (2016)

Members of an all-Native girls lacrosse team try to prove the game is their rightful inheritance, putting more than just a championship on the line.

Falls Around Her (2019)

Falls Around Her is a 2018 Canadian drama film, directed by Darlene Naponse. The film stars Tantoo Cardinal as Mary Birchbark, an internationally famous First Nations musician who returns to her home community to recharge and reevaluate her life, only to find that her fame is not so easily left behind.

Kuessipan (2019)

The bond between two friends from a strict Innu community is tested when one falls in love with a white boy.

Mekko (2015)

Mekko, released from prison after a 19-year sentence, has nowhere to go and sleeps on the streets. When he is taken in by the native community, he becomes convinced that a man among their ranks is a witch.

Love & Fury (2020)

Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo follows Native artists for a year as they navigate their careers in the US and abroad. 

Wildhood (2021)

A rebellious two-spirit teenager runs away from home to find his birth mother and reclaim his Mi'kmaw heritage. teenager.

The Northlander (2016)

In the year 2961, a hunter in one of the last surviving human bands travels across a dangerous land to save his people.

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)

A depiction of the Inuit people of the Canadian arctic, telling the story of a crime that ruptures the trust within a closely knit group and how justice is achieved and healing begins.

We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân (2010)

A Mashpee Wampanoag named Jessie Little Doe Baird leads her community on a quest to revive their tribe's lost language.

There’s Something in the Water (2019)

Community activists embark on a crusade to protect the environment from landfills and pollutants in Nova Scotia.


Reservation Dogs (2021)

Four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma steal, rob, and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious, and faraway land of California.

Rutherford Falls (2021)

Two lifelong best friends, Nathan Rutherford and Reagan Wells, find themselves at a crossroads -- quite literally -- when their sleepy town gets an unexpected wake-up call.

Trickster: Miniseries (2020)

Jared, an indigenous teen struggling to keep his family afloat, meets a mysterious stranger, who turns his whole world upside down.

Skindigenous (2018)

Exploring Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world by diving into cultures to discover the tools and techniques, symbols, and traditions that shape their art.

Mohawk Girls (2010-2017)

Mohawk Girls is about four 20-something Mohawk women trying to figure out how to be Mohawk in the 21st century and find their places in the world. And, of course, find love. But how easy is that when you and your friends have dated everyone on the rez and the hot new guy turns out to be your cousin? 

Basketball or Nothing (2019)

This docuseries follows the Chinle High basketball team in Arizona's Navajo Nation on a quest to win a state championship and bring pride to the isolated community.

Future History (2018)

Two Anishinaabe people venture out into the community to learn more about Indigenous knowledge and cultural revitalization.

Bighetty & Bighetty

Four brothers with Cree-speaking puppets show the silly, joyful side of indigenous life.

American Gods (Season 2)

Ex-convict Shadow Moon encounters a hidden America where magic is real and fear grows over the ascending power of New Gods like Technology and Media. In a grand plan to combat the threat, Mr. Wednesday attempts to unite the Old Gods to defend their existence and rebuild the influence that they've lost.

Sweetheart Dancers (2019)

Adrian and Sean are the first same-sex duo to compete in the San Manuel Sweetheart Dance, a Native American tradition that was once for hetero couples only.

We Shall Remain (2009)

"We Shall Remain" is a five-part series by Ric Burns (Ken's brother) on the history of the American Indians from "The American Experience". America through Native eyes.

Research Tools

Key Terms

A user can find relevant articles with key search terms. A combination of the following will yield appropriate responses: “Native American” “Native” “Indigenous” “American Indian” or specific tribe names such as “Ojibwe” “Pequot” or others, and “literature” or specific types of literature such as “oral storytelling” "oral history" “poetry” “memoir” “fiction” “drama” “children’s literature” etc. 

Boolean Operators

In addition to using keywords listed in the box above, Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) will assist you with finding sources.

AND: will return results containing both words entered in the search (Native American AND literature)

OR: will return results with either search term used; can be helpful when searching for synonyms or related terms (Native OR Indigenous)

Quotation marks will search the exact term ("Native American literature")

Parenthesis will help improve a search by allowing for multiple search filters: (Native American OR Indigenous OR American Indian) AND Literature

Truncation will widen a search with a wildcard symbol (*), so any variation of the root will be gathered (Photo* will return Photograph, Photographer, Photography, Photosynthesis, etc.)

Contact the liaison librarian to the Native American and Indigenous Studies program, Adriana Casarez
for research help.

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