In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we’ve created a list of five movies and five books from all genres to celebrate, educate and entertain. For additional options, be sure to check out your favorite streaming service for their list of current releases and classics.
“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown
Following the systematic destruction of Native Americans during the second half of the 19th century, this book uses council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions to unveil the voices of Native Americans who experienced the battles, massacres, and broken treaties.
“Walking with Grandfather” by Joseph M. Marshall
This story shares the lifetime of lessons that Marshall received from his grandfather. Readers gain access to the timeless teachings that, until now, remained largely unheard outside the culture of the Lakota people. Marshall takes the reader through the rich oral history of the Lakota and shows us how we can rediscover the invaluable wisdom of our elders.
“The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians” by Ralph K. Andrist
This educational novel explains how Native Americans found themselves time and again betrayed by the ever-expanding nation of the East, fighting for lands that were theirs.
“Crooked Hallelujah” by Kelli Jo Ford
This award-winning Cherokee writer traces four generations of Native American women as they navigate cultural dynamics, religious beliefs, the 1980s oil bust, devastating storms and unreliable men to connect with their ideas about home.
“Black Elk Speaks” by John G. Neihardt
This is the story of the Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk and his people during the momentous twilight years of the 19th century. This book displays a powerful and inspirational message for all humankind.
“Atanarjuat the Fast Runner” (2001)
A firsthand account from Inuit filmmakers, this film depicts the Inuit people of the Canadian arctic. It tells the story of a crime that ruptures the trust within a closely knit group and shows how justice is achieved and healing begins.
This film documents the life and work of Native American activist John Trudell. In the late 60's, John and a community group occupied Alcatraz Island for 21 months, bringing international recognition to the American Indian cause. In 1979, John burned a U.S. flag on the steps of the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. and within hours his family perished in a suspicious fire. This left a devastating impact, and he spent several years wandering the country until he found a new way to present his cultural passion through music.
This movie stars Mekko, who is released from prison after a 19-year sentence for killing a cousin. Once he gets out, he has nowhere to go and sleeps on the streets. He is eventually taken in by the native community, and he learns that he must become a warrior to fight the “witch” preying on his people because they have lost their spirit.
“The Land of Rock and Gold” (2016)
In this mystery drama film, there is a remote woodland community where a young Cree mother and her son find themselves on the run in the wake of the mysterious disappearance of the mother’s boyfriend.
“Blood Quantum” (2019)
In this Canadian horror film, a zombie uprising occurs on a First Nations reserve and wipes out everyone except the Mi'kmaq community of Red Crow. They are immune to the zombie plague because of their indigenous heritage. However, they must cope with the consequences of its effects on the world around them, including refugees seeking shelter on the reserve.