Native American characters in film and television have long been limited to largely stereotypical portrayals, with opportunities for Indigenous actors and creators few and far between. But in recent years, the industry has seen a proliferation of stories that put Indigenous perspectives front and center, ushering in a new age of Native American representation both onscreen and behind the camera.
These groundbreaking works have spanned genres, ranging from science fiction to comedy, many featuring a majority Indigenous cast and crew.
“Prey,” for example, which premiered on Hulu this summer, is a science fiction action film set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. It tells the story of Naru, played by Amber Midthunder, a warrior who fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly evolved Predators to land on Earth.
Meanwhile, “Reservation Dogs,” a dark comedy series about four Native American teenagers growing up on a reservation in rural Oklahoma and their exploits, was recently renewed for a third season.
Created by Indigenous filmmakers Sterlin Harjo, a Seminole Nation of Oklahoma citizen, and Taika Waititi, who is of Māori descent, the critically acclaimed series has inspired and opened doors for a new generation of Native creators.