Articles

Reclaiming Our Stories Through Media and Film

As Indigenous people, we know that storytelling is a powerful teaching tool. Stories can introduce us to new ideas and shape our thoughts and feelings about the world. They can also inform our opinions about important political topics, places we’ve never been, and groups of people we’ve never met. But what happens when certain people are not represented in film, TV, and other popular media?

The portrayal of Indigenous peoples in film and TV, up until relatively recently, has been in the hands of white settler society. It is not entirely surprising then that the stories being told about Indigenous peoples have tended to be untrue. Rather, they tend to create and reinforce harmful stereotypes about us. Often, these stories don’t even include Native actors. This has been true not just for film and TV, but all forms of mainstream media, including video games.

Blogger, professor, and Cherokee activist, Adrienne Keene says in her blog Native Appropriations, “The last big blockbuster series to feature Native characters was the Twilight series, and we are portrayed as wolves. Think of every recent major studio film that featured a Native character. All of the ones I can think of off the top of my head were set in a historical context [in the past], were a fantasy film, or were full of stereotypes. There have been so few accurate, modern, nuanced portrayals of Native people it’s not even funny.”

In order for things to change, the way the world views Indigenous people needs to change as well. This can be done through proper storytelling, where films, TV programs, and other media are generated by Indigenous people about Indigenous people. Through the telling of our own stories, Indigenous people can change the narrative – literally – in film, television and other media.

Fortunately, we are seeing many Indigenous directors, producers, and actors stepping up to take on that challenge. Taika Waititi, the Maori director of Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit, is just one of many who has become a champion of Indigenous creators and has spoken about the importance of making sure Indigenous storytellers get the same opportunities as others.

With the social media tools available today and the spotlight on the need for Indigenous-led storytelling, we exist in a time where the possibilities are endless. Creators don’t need to wait for their “big break” for their voices to be heard. There are others working to elevate our voices as well, such as Illuminative – a U.S. based organization that seeks to correct the stories that have been told about Native people.

Want to learn more about other Indigenous people blazing the way forward in film, TV, and other media? Check out the additional resources below.

Additional Resources:

What I Love About My Body

When I was a teenager there was little to no information about...

Who is Deer Woman from Reservation Dogs?

In “Come and Get Your Love” (Season 1, Episode 5) of the...

Sexual Orientation: A Spectrum Of Attraction

Staying Balanced in College

Keeping a healthy balance between life, school, and work is what everyone...

6 Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Applying to scholarships for college, graduate school, or even summer programs can...

Sex Assigned at Birth and Gender Identity: What Is The Difference?

How Dancing can Teach you to Love your Body

When it comes to our bodies, dancing can provide confidence and a...

Using Culture to Cope with COVID

COVID has brought more than just physical illness to our communities. It’s...

Sexual Orientations Explained: Lesbian, Gay, Heterosexual and Bisexual

Weird (but normal) Body Facts

Our bodies are amazing and house many secrets! Are you curious to...

6 Questions to Help You Find the Right Birth Control for You

Are you curious about what birth control options are out there? Here...

Becoming Jane Doe

Alara, an Athabaskan and Tlingit transwoman, found her gender identity through drag....

How to Navigate Health Insurance

Medical visits and procedures, like x-rays, can be expensive. That is why...

PSA This Relationship Advice is Actually Genius

Relationships – whether they are with our family members, friends, or significant...

There’s Heart Here

Roller derby champion. Activist. Cyclist. Follow three indigenous members of the Two...

How to Pick the Right College For You

Deciding to go to college is a big decision and one that...

How to Lease Your First Apartment

6 Tips for Renting Your First Apartment  On the lookout for your...

Saying Yes or No: What Is Consent?

Connecting to Our Land is Connecting to Our Culture

Our relationship with the land is a huge part of our culture...

How to Expand Your Networks

Have you ever heard the saying, “It doesn’t matter what you know,...

Consent And Communication

Native Women Just Can’t Anymore

Sex can be fun and empowering. However, some of us – especially...

What’s PrEP

PrEP makes preventing HIV easy. But, what is PrEP, and who is...

Consent Explained: What Is It?

How to Make Peace With Your Body

Just like plants need sunshine, nutrients, water, and connection to other beings...

Shutting Down Slut Shamers

Enjoying sex or openly expressing your sexuality doesn’t make you a “slut.”...

Top Signs Boys are in Puberty

What you Need to know about your Vagina and Vulva

Have you ever looked at your body and wondered, “Is this normal?”...

Wait what?! That’s what you do with lube?

A little-known fact is that lube can be a real game-changer when...

Top Signs Girls are in Puberty

Does Size Really Matter?

As a teenager, we’re all consumed with similar worries. From wanting to...

Access to Abortion

The overturning of Roe v. Wade has caused concern about safe access...

Taking Care of Your Body During Puberty

What is Roe v. Wade?

You might have heard about Roe v. Wade being “overturned.” This article...

How to Use the Pill

The birth control pill (“the pill”) is simple to use and can...

Puberty: What Is Doctor Confidentiality?

The Real Story about Dental Dams

Giving and receiving oral sex can be fun and feel good. But...

How to Use an External (Male) Condom

If you choose to have sex, condoms can protect you and your...

Accessing Sexual Health Care for Minors

Heads Up: Sex Must Start with Consent

The idea of having sex can be both exciting and nerve-wracking! You...

Getting Tested for HIV

If you’re thinking about getting tested for HIV, it’s normal to have...

Bodies: Different Shapes and Sizes. All Beautiful!

Here’s What You Should Know About Body Sovereignty

You may have heard that Tribal Nations have sovereignty. This means that...

Why is fentanyl dangerous?

Everyone is talking about fentanyl, and for good reason; it’s more common...

Does Penis Size Really Matter?

Internal Condom Instructions

***Remember to always check the expiration date and package of any condom...

Condom Shopping Guide

Get the facts!

Menstruation: What To Expect

Tribal Sovereignty is Everything

Tribal sovereignty is important to who we are as Indigenous people, but...

An Advocate Within

Advice from a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Member Working in Congress...

Period Hygiene: Tampons, Pads and Menstrual Cups

The Land & Ancestral Wellness Wisdom

Much of our knowledge as Indigenous people comes from the land: our...

Be The Change: Tips for Being an Advocate in Your Tribal Community

Getting involved in local politics and advocating to your tribal government is...

How the Boner Grows

Self-Love Made Me Do It

When a candle is lit, the fire comes from another source- whether...

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Your self-esteem is the way you look at, or perceive, yourself. If...

All About Getting Your Period

National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person’s Awareness Day

Indigenous people have long experienced disproportionately high rates of violence compared to...

Environmental Racism and Seeking Environmental Justice

In the 1970s, the Grassy Narrows Reserve in Canada, home of the...

Masturbation: Totally Normal

Resiliency is in Our Blood

Resilience has become a bit of a buzzword in Native Country. A...

Indigenous People for Black Lives Matter

Today as I write this article the world is mourning Daunte Wright,...

Puberty and Finding Out Who You Are

Indigenous Feminism

Creating a world where people of all genders are respected and valued...

Healing the Land is Healing Us

Western colonial ways of thinking about health tend to focus on physical...

The Plants of Your Place

Land Back: Because Colonialism Does Not Spark Joy

In the opening scenes of Rutherford Falls, a Native-inclusive TV series launched...

Breaking Trauma Cycles

Ancestral Gifts We inherit many things from our parents, from their parents,...

Culture is Prevention

What is the MMIW Movement?

MMIW stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. It’s a movement that...

Racism and Anti-Racism

Racism impacts all aspects of our lives. It impacts what policies are...

Culture is Prevention – Sarah

Indigenous Futurism

What would the world look like if tribal supernatural entities ruled? How...

The Judicial Branch

Sometimes, an advocacy group, business, church, or even a group of individuals...

BRAVE: Episode 7

The Executive Branch

After a bill passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate,...

The Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch of the U.S. federal government makes laws. The Legislative...

BRAVE: Episode 6

Advocacy in the Three Branches of Government

The United States federal government is divided into three branches: the Executive...

Lessons From Standing Rock

In 2016, the water protectors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation created...

BRAVE: Episode 5

We Are More Than a Mascot

Native American mascots are one of the more controversial topics when it...

Native Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is when someone from the dominant culture (i.e. the most...

Brave: Episode 4

Who is Secretary Deb Haaland?

Deb Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and has...

What is Trauma?

Trauma is a distressing experience that can impact us emotionally, mentally, physically,...

BRAVE: Episode 3

Healing From Trauma

After you experience trauma, it might seem like you will never feel...

Honor Your Needs

To give yourself the energy you need when you face a difficult...

BRAVE: Episode 2

Learn to Identify Your Emotions

Sometimes we can identify our emotions through how our body feels. When...

Learn to Be Present in Your Body

After trauma, we may feel like our mind is caught up in...

BRAVE: Episode 1

Finding Balance in Your Day-to-Day Activities

Trauma often throws us off- mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically- but there...

Form Healthy Relationships with Trusted People

Coping with trauma on your own can be difficult. Think of the...

Sunhawk / Managing Stress

Cope with Things That Remind You of Trauma

Our brains are always scanning the environment for danger. When we have...

Reaching Out For Help

Sometimes the bravest thing we can do when we are struggling is...

Olivia / Keeping It All Inside

Managing Our Mental Health

 Mental health is how we think about things and our conscious...

Self-Care

Self-care is key for taking care of ourselves and achieving our life’s...

Nadira / Reaching Out for Help at College

Tips for Moving Beyond Blood Quantum

We know blood quantum, or “how much Native blood you have,” isn’t...

Blood Quantum Blues

“So… how much Native are you?” The dreaded question every Indigenous person...

Maiya / Dealing with Anxiety Attacks

Indigenizing Your Self-Care

Self-care means taking care of the whole self – physically, emotionally, mentally,...

What Is Tribal Consultation?

Tribes are nations that have the right to make decisions about how...

Kennedy / Seeing Kindness

Self-Compassion

Treating ourselves with compassion can have a big impact on the quality...

Chickasaw Spaceman

John Herrington, born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, is an enrolled member of the...

Kaytlynn / Combatting Stressors

Lateral Violence

What is Lateral Violence? Lateral violence- also called internalized colonialism or horizontal...

Indigenous Comic Books

Comics and cartoons have existed for centuries, but it wasn’t until the...

Jowun / Self-Care For Me

Protect Your Peace from Toxic Relationships

What does it mean to protect your peace? Protecting your peace means...

Indigenous Star Stories

When you look up at the night’s sky, what do you see?...

Isis / School Stressors

Native Crisis Text Line

Sometimes things are too overwhelming to deal with alone. If you need...

IndigiLOVE Campaign

IndigiLOVE is a campaign designed by tribal youth to spread positivity, share...

Aurora / Connection

Substance Misuse

Substance misuse is a health issue that impacts many people. It is...

Supporting A Loved One

It can be painful watching those we love struggle. We may feel...

Ashley / Self-Care Looks Different For Everyone

Why Do I Keep Saying “Yes?”

You have done it again! You’ve said ‘yes’ to something you don’t...

Coping with Stress

Everyone feels stressed at times, but stress is not always bad. Sometimes...

#Indigilove Recap Video

Eating Disorders

Eating healthy food is an important part of our well-being. After all...

Tips for Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep might seem like a waste of time. You could be doing...

Siletz DVPI PSA

Talk About It

Does the idea of giving a friend negative feedback about their behavior...

Cultivating Self-Love

Want to build your confidence, self-esteem, and wellness? It all starts with...

MMIWG (Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls)

Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

We all have relationships with a variety of people, including friends, boyfriends,...

Spiritual Connection: Being Part of Something Bigger

Do you remember the last time you had an awe-inspiring moment that...

Life Is Sacred

Food as Medicine

Indigenous teachings and ways of living kept our peoples well for centuries....

Indigenizing Movement and Mental Health

Movement is medicine – for our mind, body, and spirit. For our...

Elder Teachings

Mindfulness Meditation

Sometimes everyday stress can get to you. For some of us, it...

Diabetes Awareness

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and November 14 is World Diabetes Day!...

Defined by my Ancestors, Not Dead Presidents

Is My Relationship Healthy?

All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy...

Resources for Exploring your Sexual Identity

Your sexual orientation will emerge over time, probably little by little. Don’t...

Heart of the Land | Prevent Suicide

Tips to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 in our state, threatens our elders, our families,...

History Through a Native Lens

Timeline Overview This timeline of historically traumatic events was authored by Karina...

We R Native Ambassadors

We R Native Ambassadors Class of 2018/2019

Helping a Friend Who’s Been Raped

Getting support from people they love and trust can be invaluable for...

Tips to be an Engaged Bystander

Leading up to every violent incident (be it intimate partner violence, domestic...

Healthy Relationships PSA

 

How do I know my bf won’t hook up with other girls at powwows this summer?

Find Us

Contest

Reclaiming Our Stories Through Media and Film

Follow Us

Enter Phone Number to Subscribe:

Msg & Data Rates May Apply.
Text STOP to opt out. No purchase necessary.
Expect 4 msgs/mo.Terms and Conditions

Menu