Native American Heritage at the Movies

According to another blogger here, November is Native American Heritage Month. I had no idea. I started looking up movies I’d seen that featured Native Americans and was pleasantly surprised to find several of them in our collection. For the most part, I’ve concentrated on movies and television series that feature recent generations of Native Americans and the choices they face.

  • I Will Fight No More Forever (1975) – This TV-movie actually deals with the past. Excellent, moving account of the Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce nation as they fought for their land in 1877. Ned Romero stars as Chief Joseph.
  • Powwow Highway (1989) – A modern-day buddy/road trip movie. Friends Buddy Red Bow and Philbert Bono must travel to New Mexico to help free Buddy’s sister from unjust imprisonment. Along the way they make some unexpected stops and learn valuable lessons about themselves and each other. A Martinez and Gary Farmer star.
  • Smoke Signals (1998) – Another road trip movie about family, friendship, forgiveness – and the relationship between father and son. Based on a book by Sherman Alexie, who also wrote the screenplay. When Victor Joseph’s estranged father Arnold dies in Arizona, Victor must travel from Idaho to claim his father’s ashes. Thomas Builds-the-Fire – Victor’s sometimes friend, sometimes thorn in the side – goes along. As they make their journey, each must confront his feelings about the role Arnold Joseph played in the young men’s lives. Stars Adam Beach, Evan Adams, Tantoo Cardinal, and Gary Farmer.
  • Skinwalkers (2002), Coyote Waits (2003), A Thief of Time (2004) – Based on the novels by Tony Hillerman. Wes Studi stars as Joe Leaphorn and Adam Beach as Jim Chee. Leaphorn and Chee are detectives with the Navajo Tribal Police. Though they often clash over traditions and beliefs, Joe and Jim work together on crimes committed on the Navajo Nation land in the Four Corners region of the United States.

I know there are other movies – a surprising number of them starring Adam Beach, a Canadian actor of Saulteaux descent. Any other suggestions?


Here are a few more films

Here are a few more films with Native American themes or characters that are in the HCPL catalog. Skins, Thunderheart, Dances with Wolves, Atanarjuat (Fast Runner) and Windwalker.

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for writing! You've listed some great titles that give us a wide variety of views about Native Americans.  Thanks!