During this time of changing leaves, preparing for Thanksgiving, and preparing for football season, another November celebration cannot be forgotten: Native American Heritage Month. It was on August 3, 1990 that President George H. W. Bush declared November Native American Heritage Recognition Month.
To celebrate this Native American Appreciation Month, many streaming platforms are offering a wide range of movies, documentaries, and TV shows that delve into culture, traditions, and important heritage figures.
*Disclaimer: This article deals with films whose subject matter is related to sexual abuse.
“Geronimo: an American legend”
Featuring A love songit is Wes Studio as the titular character, Geronimo: an American legend is a 1993 historical western that follows the Apache Indians as they are forced to move to a reservation to work as corn farmers. After Geronimo’s formation of a rebellion, American troopers are enlisted to hunt him and his men down.
With Matt Damon in one of his first roles as Lt. Britton Davis, the Oscar nominee is available on Netflix, Apple TV, Prime Video andYoutube.
water barks is an outstanding independent film by Sterling Harjo which takes viewers on a road trip between an ailing elderly man and his former lover as they depart for the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma for the man to visit friends old and new and make amends with the members from his family.
Named best drama at the American Indian Film Festival in 2009, this film is broadcast on Youtube, Apple TV and Prime Video.
Based on the true story of Mary ThompsonFisher, Morning tells the story of a young Native American woman who overcomes cultural barriers in order to live her Broadway dreams and ultimately become one of the greatest Native American performers of all time.
This film about the woman known as Te Ata is available to stream on Netflix, Apple TV, Prime Video and Youtube.
“Rumble: the Indians who shook the world”
Rumble: Indians who shook the world is a 2017 documentary that highlights Indigenous musicians who have had an impact on rock music in the United States and Canada. The film features notable musicians like Buffy Sainte Marie and Jimi Hendrix, while rock legends love Marky Ramon, steven tyler and several others provide commentary.
This News and Documentary Emmy Award nominee made his PBS debuts in 2019 and is available to stream on Netflix and Apple TV.
The 1998 comedy-drama Smoke signals is based on a short story by Sherman Alexie and follows enemies Thomas and Victor, who have differing opinions about Victor’s father, Arnold, until they must leave together to retrieve Arnold’s ashes.
With over a dozen awards and animations under its belt, the first film to have an all-Native American cast and crew can be found on multiple streaming services, including Paramount+.
“Rhymes For Young Ghouls”
Rhymes for young ghouls is an independent drama that depicts the history of the abuse of First Nations people by government agents. Aila, a Miꞌkmaq girl, against the officer who detained her at a residential school notorious for physical and sexual abuse.
Winner of numerous film festivals, Rhymes for young ghoulsis free to watch on Pipes, and can be streamed on Apple TV, Youtube and Prime Video.
“Basketball or nothing”
Netflix is known for its excellent sports documentaries, and in 2019 they launched the docuseries Basketball or nothing. This A sports-themed reality TV show follows a high school basketball team from the Navajo Nation of Arizona as they prepare to win a state championship and show off their pride.
Although it only aired one season, all six episodes are available to stream exclusively on Netflix.
Reservation dogs is a teen drama series celebrated for its all-Indigenous cast of writers, directors, and characters. After a group of four Native American teenagers in Oklahoma, the group endures crime, theft, and a turf war en route to what seems like a whole new world: California.
Available to stream exclusively on FX on Hulu,Reservation dogs has a third season on the way after receiving a slew of nominations and wins, including two Independent Spirit Awards.
‘Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible’
Blackfoot Boxing: Not Invisible is a ESPN documentary set in a boxing gym on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana and follows real-life girls and women as they train for self-defense after the epidemic of missing and murdered Native women continues to grow within their community.
The Sports Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Short Sports Documentary premiered on ESPN on December 1, 2020 and can be viewed on ESPN+.
“Highway to Powwows”
This classic can be hard to find, but when it does appear, it’s a must-have watch. Powwow Road is a 1989 comedy-drama that follows two Northern Cheyenne men – a spiritual seeker and a realist – who embark on a hilarious but life-changing road trip to bail out one of their sisters.
Known for influencing the Native American films that followed him, including Smoke signals and water barks – the Sundance Film Festival award winner is available to stream on the lesser-known streaming service The criterion channel.
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