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Indigenous Peoples of the United States

This guide will serve as a introduction for any student interested in the history and culture of the native peoples in the United States.



Featured Below are trailers and full length features of a number of films that talk about Indigenous issues.  

Across the Creek

From Vision Maker Media : "Across the Creek offers a fresh perspective into the lives of Lakota tribal members on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. Through a mix of intimate interviews, landscape scenics, and illuminating footage of Lakota culture, the film opens a window into how the past and present converge daily. These Sioux communities struggle to balance tradition with change, honoring the wisdom of elder generations and confronting new challenges facing burgeoning youth populations. Even if you have visited an Indian reservation before, you have not experienced contemporary American Indian life quite like this."

What Was Ours

From Vision Maker Media: "An Eastern Shoshone Elder and two Northern Arapaho youth living on the Wind River Indian Reservation attempt to learn why thousands of ancestral artifacts are in the darkness of underground archives of museums and churches, boxed away and forgotten. Like millions of indigenous people in many parts of the world, they do not control their own material culture. It is being preserved, locked away, by ‘outsiders’ who themselves do not know what they have. These beautiful ancestral objects—drums, pipes, eagle wing fans, medicine bags, weapons, and ceremonial attire are far from home, their meaning slowly being lost to time. Should tribes attempt to bring them back? Many want to, including our three main characters. But why do they want them back? What answers do they seek from these artifacts? How can they take control of their own past? Is recovering what’s lost even possible anymore?"

Life Lakota

From Vative Media: "Over-The-Rhine International Film Festival - Grand Jury's Short Documentary WINNER Life Lakota captures the state of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota today. The Lakota culture is fading and their voices must be heard. Local leaders are taking action to educate the youth while organizations like the Sioux YMCA are helping kids stay above the influence of many of the extreme adversities that the reservation presents them. Lakota people are humble, proud and full of faith, we are honored to help tell their story."

Black Indians (Full)

From the Description: "Black Indians: An American Story" brings to light a forgotten part of America's past - the cultural and racial fusion of Native and African Americans. Narrated by James Earl Jones, produced and directed the awarding winning Native American production company, Rich-Heape Films, this presentation explores what brought the two groups together, what drove them apart, and the challenges that they face today. From the Atlantic Seaboard to the Western Plains, family memories and historical highlights reveal the indelible mark of this unique ancestry, and its continuing influence throughout the generations. Narrated by James Earl Jones



From Vision Maker Media: "Amidst the echoes of genocide, an unprecedented truth commission attempts to heal the wounds of a foster care system devastating Native American families in DAWNLAND. A documentary about cultural survival and stolen children: inside the first truth and reconciliation commission for Native Americans."

Trigger Warning: Due to explicit content discretion is advised for the video below





The Search


From Al Jazeera: "Indigenous women in the United States experience some of the highest rates of violence and murder in the country, according to federal data. Tribes and advocates attribute this to a confluence of factors - institutional racism, a lack of resources for tribes, and complicated jurisdictions that undermine tribal sovereignty. All of this has led to what tribal and federal officials have called a crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in the US. So why are indigenous women going missing in the US and what more could be done to address the problem? Fault Lines travelled across the western US to Washington, Montana and New Mexico to find out."

Unspoken : America's Native American Boarding Schools

Unspoken  is a full length PBS Utah documentary that focuses on the Native American Boarding School Experience.  From the Website:

"The history of the United States of America is like a coin.  For every story written of the successes and growth of the country, there is the other side — where people are subjected to the consequences of decisions over which they had no control. During the westward expansion of the U.S., the indigenous people were those people, whose treatment ranged from being dismissed to outright extermination."


The New York Times Featured a great article last year entitled Listen to Indigenous People, which features a number of podcasts you should take a look at !


Native American Organizations

National Congress of American Indians

From the NCAI website: Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.




NDN Collective

From the website: Our Mission: Build the collective power of Indigenous Peoples, communities, and Nations to exercise our inherent right to self-determination, while fostering a world that is built on a foundation of justice and equity for all people and the planet.

United American Indians of New England

From the Website: UAINE is a Native-led organization of Native people and our supporters who fight back against racism and for the freedom of Leonard Peltier and other political prisoners. We support Indigenous struggles, not only in New England but throughout the Americas.

Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness

From the Website: Our mission is to preserve Native American cultural traditions; to assist Native American residents with basic needs and educational expenses; to advance public knowledge and understanding that helps dispel inaccurate information about Native Americans; and to work towards racial equality by addressing inequities across the region.

Cultural Survival

From the Website: Our work is predicated on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We engage opportunities to leverage our experience and leadership in advocacy, media, public education, programs, and in providing platforms to amplify and empower the voices of Indigenous Peoples as they work to claim their rights to self-determination, their lands, cultures, and precious ecosystems that are essential to the whole planet.



Historic and Cultural Resources