November is Native American Heritage Month, and after all the stereotypical Thanksgiving depictions of indigenous Americans, it’s especially good to see some realistic portrayals of “Indian” lives in America.
Netflix has some good Native American movies, one of the best new ones being The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, the 2019 award-winning Canadian drama. Directed by Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, it depicts the economic differences dividing some Native Americans, and the harsh difficulties faced by Native American women, especially. It stars Violet Nelson, Tailfeathers, Charlie Hannah, Barbara Eve Harris, Sonny Surowiec and gets a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix also has 100 Years, a 2016 documentary about Elouise Cobell. Cobell fought with the U.S. government over the gross mismanagement of Native American lands, over valuable mining, oil, gas, and timber leases. Cobell, a Blackfeet Warrior, sued and won the largest class action lawsuit against the Federal Government, for 3.4 billion dollars. And it gets an 8.2/10 on IMDb.
Amazon, though, has the most Native American shows available now, including Trail of Tears, the PBS doc from 2006. It covers not only the terrible Cherokee “relocation” of 1838, that killed thousands, but also so-called”black”Indians, Indian boarding schools and Native American healing. And it’s all narrated by James Earl Jones. And it gets an 8.4/10 on IMDb. Don’t miss it. Amazon also offers Pine Ridge, a 2013 award-winning documentary from director Anna Eborn. It tells the stories of life on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, where people like Lance Red Cloud, Cassandra Warrior and her daughter Diamond Rose try to survive, and retain their traditional ways. And, it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Amazon offers Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the HBO epic drama from 2007. Based on the classic book of the same name by Dee Brown, this movie covers four chapters from the book, about an attempt to get indigenous people to assimilate, by Senator Henry L. Dawes, and the fight by leaders like Sitting Bull, against that push. August Schellenberg, Adam Beach, Chevez Ezaneh, Anna Paquin and Aidan Quinn star. And it gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb.
So let’s get educated on the people who really discovered and populated this country, on Netflix and Amazon Prime.