Documentary Fix: 6 Films Featuring Indigenous Voices

October 17, 2019

By: Beatrice Alvarez

Many states observed Indigenous Peoples Day this past Monday, but the stories of indigenous people across America can be still be seen and shared after the holiday has come and gone. Here are six documentaries that remind us of the depth and range of American Indian experiences.

Moroni For President

American ReFramed takes viewers into the Navajo Nation with a young academic named Moroni Benally. An underdog candidate in the race to become President of the tribe, he approaches issues of sovereignty and identity with radical ideas. (Streaming until 10/21)

yoox̲atuwatánk (We Speak)

Honor the American Indian traditions and ceremonies of the past in this film from Choctaw/Seminole filmmaker Tracy Rector. This film from the 2019 PBS Online Film Festival moves viewers through its imagery and freestyle spoken word.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell

U.S. Senator. Olympic athlete. High school dropout. Ben Nighthorse Campbell was all of these things, while recognizing the Northern Cheyenne tribal identity at his core. Learn more about his life in this episode of Colorado Experience from Rocky Mountain PBS, located in Denver, Colorado.

Tribal Justice

Restorative justice models from Native American tribal courts are reaching the mainstream court system. Watch as two Native American judges draw on their cultural traditions in this documentary that first aired on POV in 2017. (Streaming until 10/27)

Bago Boys

This story of the 2015 state championship basketball team from Winnebago, Nebraska is uplifting and so full of heart. We thank station NET Nebraska for making this documentary that we have now watched many (many) times.

Kind-Hearted Woman

Frontline first aired David Sutherland's two-part film in 2013, giving viewers a heartbreakingly personal look at one woman's experiences on South Dakota's Spirit Lake Reservation. Robin Charboneau, an Oglala Sioux mother of two, spent three years in front of the cameras as she raised her children, furthered her education, and healed from the abuse she suffered as a child.

If you enjoy these films, make sure you tune in or stream Conscience Point on Independent Lens on November 18. The film highlights the history of the Shinnecock Nation, original inhabitants of the New York's Hamptons, and the present-day influx of wealth in the area. You won't want to miss it.

Every other week, Documentary Fix brings you a curated collection of documentaries you can watch on PBS.org and PBS Video App.

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