Film List: Indigenous History and Politics

The list of recommended films below was developed to provide important insights into indigenous histories and cultures across the Americas and Afro-Eurasia. It includes both documentaries and feature films. If you would like to recommend films to be added to the list, please contact us.

Projects and Series

Native America (PBS)

Wapikoni Mobile (Canada First Nations filmmaking project)

Wapikoni Mobile On Demand

We Shall Remain (America Through Native Eyes: PBS 2009 “American Experience”)

Present-Day Productions about Native Americans IMDB

Standing on Sacred Ground (Christopher McLeod, 2013 festival series release)

Individual Films

Americano, 2007, Carlos Ferrand (Peruvian, Canadian)

Alcatraz Is Not an Island, 2000, James M. Fortier (Métis, Ojibwe)

Atanarjuat/The Fast Runner, 2001, Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit)

The Business of Fancy Dancing, 2002, Sherman Alexie (Spokane-Coeur d’Alene)

Charley Squash Goes to Town, 1969, Duke Redbird (Cree, animated film)

Club Native, 2008, Tracey Deer (Mohawk, documentary)

Dance Me Outside, 1994, Bruce McDonald (R-rated feature from book by W.P. Kinsella set on Kidabanesee reserve in Northern Ontario)

Dances with Wolves, 1990, Kevin Costner (famous feature with Anglo hero, exploited cast)

Dead Man, 1996, Jim Jarmusch (wacky feature Western)

Frozen River, 2008, Courtney Hunt (Mohawk, on Canada border)

El Norte, 1983, Gregory Nava (classic feature)

The Exiles, [1961] 2008 dvd, Kent Mckenzie (Indians in LA, docudrama, Sherman Alexie sponsorship)

High Steel, 1965, Don Owen (short on Kahnawake Indian [Mohawk] skyscraper building)

INAATE/SE/, 2016, Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil (art film on Ojibwe spiritual reconnection)

Imagining Indians, 1992, Victor Masayesva Jr. (Hopi, documentary, all-Indian crew)

Incident At Oglala: The Leonard Peltier Story, 1992, Michael Apted (documentary, with producer Robert Redford)

Invisible Nation/ Le peuple invisible, 2007, Richard Desjardins, Robert Monderie (Canada)

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, 1993, Alanis Obomsawin (MoMA documentary)

Kissed by Lightening, 2010, Shelley Niro (Mohawk, feature, spiritual awakening of an artist)

The Last of the Mohicans, 1992, Michael Mann (French-Indian wars, from James Fenimore Cooper)

Mesnak, 2011, Yves Sioui Durand (Montreal, feature, return to the Native community)

Mohawk Girls, 2005 Tracey Deer (Mohawk, Kahnawake, documentary)

Ngarrindjeri Ruwe Stolen Waters, 2009 Vesper Tjukonai (stolen lands, children, waters)

Nanook of the North, 1922, Robert Flaherty (on Inuit, controversial as documentary)

NUKKAN KUNGUN YUNNAN – Ngarrindjeri’s Being Heard, 2009 (Australia youth project)

Paraiso for Sale, 2011, Anayansi Prado (Panama land sales to rich Northerners)

Pine Ridge, 2013, Anna Erborn (in English and Lakota)

Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir, 2013 Schwartz, Henry et al. (Bhantu-speaking Chhara people of India)

Powwow Highway, 1989, Jonathan Wacks (Cheyenne, comedy)

Rabbit Proof Fence, 2002, Phillip Noyce (Australia feature on boarding school trauma)

Reel Injun, 2009, Neil Diamond (Cree, documentary on Indians in film)

The Rez, 1996-7, Milan Cheylov, Gary Harvey (TV film series)

Rigoberta Menchu, Daughter of the Maya, 1916, Dawn Engle

River Between Us, 2015, Jeff Martin (Klamath River documentary)

Schooling the World, 2010, Lost People Films (Ladakh of North India)

Smoke Signals, 1998, Chris Eyre (from book by Sherman Alexie)

These are my people, 1969, Roy Daniels (Ojibwe), Willie Dunn (Mi’gMaq), Michael Mitchell (Mohawk), & Barbara Wilson (Haida)

To Brooklyn and Back: A Mohawk Journey, 2008, Reaghan Tarbell (Mowhawk, PBS documentary, Kahnawake iron workers)

Waban-aki, peuple du soleil levant, 2006, Alanis Obomsawin (Canada Film Board)

You are on Indian Land, 1969, Mort Ransen (1968 Mohawk confrontation US/Canada border)

We are Ngarrindjeri, 2015, Ngarrindjeri Ruwe (“We are still here”)

Whale Rider, 2003, Niki Caro (New Zealand drama of leadership, gender issues)

When Two Worlds Collide, 2016, Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel (Amazon mining conflict)