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Watch These Top Shows That Spotlight Indigenous People and Experiences
Shows to watch in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and beyond!
Indigenous Peoples Day is Monday, October 9, and there’s no better time to take a look at television content that highlights the experiences and lives of Indigenous peoples. We put together a list of TV shows to get you started; let us know on our Discord what shows you love, or have discovered! Happy watching! 🍿
The first series that features an entirely Indigenous cast, writer, director, and production team, Reservation Dogs is a groundbreaking dramedy about a tight-knit group of Indigenous teenagers. Created by Sterlin Harjon and Taika Waiti, it is set in rural Oklahoma, where these teens dream of leaving their reservation in pursuit of their aspirations and opportunities. The series is both widely critically acclaimed and a hit with audiences, and known for its witty dialogue, vibrant characters and thoughtful storytelling, shedding light on indigenous experiences. It’s been hailed as a coming-of-age “masterpiece.”
Based on Tracey Deer’s documentary of the same name, Mohawk Girls is a dramedy about four young women from the Mohawk Nation in Quebec. The show was described by Deer as “Sex and the City for the native set,” and follows these women’s unique challenges and experiences that they face as they navigate the complexities of their cultural heritage, relationships, and aspirations. Candid and often humorous, the show has received praise for its authenticity and engaging storytelling.
In this crime drama series, Hilary Swank stars as a high profile investigative reporter who is fired from her job in New York at a prominent newspaper following a public fall from grace. Desperate for a new start, she is recruited by a former colleague to the Alaska Daily, a newspaper in Anchorage, Alaska. She is partnered quickly with Roz, an Indigenous staff writer, and together they embark on a season-long quest to solve the murders of Indigenous women across the state of Alaska.
An American sitcom about a fictional upstate New York town, Rutherford Falls is created by Michael Schur, Ed Helms, and Sierra Teller Ornelas. The series is centered around a local historian obsessed with preserving his family’s legacy and his best friend who is a member of the (fictional) Minishonka Nation. The series cleverly and humorously tackles themes of identity, history, and cultural clashes. The series has been praised for its sharp humor and portrayal of Indigenous perspectives in a predominantly white community.
Based on the popular Leaphorn & Chee detective novels of Tony Hillerman, Dark Winds is a psychological thriller series that follows the investigations of two Navajo police officers as they navigate the complex criminal landscape of the American Southwest. The series combines mystery and suspense against the backdrop of Navajo culture and traditions. This compelling crime drama delves into the unique challenges faced by Indigenous law enforcement.
This Canadian drama series provides a look into the Canadian Indigenous experience. Blackstone is about the fictional Blackstone First Nation, a struggling Indigenous community. The show delves into many issues that Canadian Indigenous communities face, such as poverty, addiction, corruption, water pollution, abuse, and education. It offers a gritty, realistic view of life on a reservation while celebrating the strength and spirit of a community.
This Canadian crime drama delves into the world of law enforcement and Indigenous relations. Sam Woodburn is the newly appointed chief in a newly integrated tribal police force in the Nêhiyawak First Nation in Alberta, and she is forced to partner with a detective who has a reputation for racism. Tribal explores the unique challenges of navigating a predominantly non-Indigenous police force and the cultural clashes and complex cases facing this small, isolated town. The series provides a thought-provoking look at the intersection of Indigenous traditions, modern law enforcement, and the pursuit of justice in a tight-knit community.
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