The Most Important Movies by Native American Filmmakers and Artists

In our second Top 10 list, film scholar Lance Rhoades shares some of the most influential films made by First Nations or American Indian artists, like Smoke Signals, Powwow Highway and more.

  • February 6, 2014
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  • Top 10
  • |
  • By Abby Rhinehart

In honor of our 40th anniversary, Humanities Washington presents a series of top 10 lists, sharing the best of the best from a variety of humanities topics from the past 40 years. Composed by our Speakers Bureau presenters, these lists are designed to spark new ideas and inspire us to try something new in 2014. Look back on Spark each month for a new top 10 list!

Lance Rhoades

Lance Rhoades

In our second Top 10 list, film scholar Lance Rhoades shares his list of the most influential films made by First Nations or American Indian artists. Rhoades travels the state as part of the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau with his presentation American Indians in Cinema: Portrayals and Participation, Onscreen and Behind the Scene, coming to Stevenson April 13 [Details]. In 2014, Rhoades also is offering a new presentation on the Civil War in film. [Details]

The 10 most important feature films by American Indian or First Nations screenwriters, directors, and authors:

1. Smoke Signals (1998) – director Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho) and author/screenwriter Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene)
Smoke_Signals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)–writer/director Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit)
Atanarjuat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Skins (2002)–writer/director Chris Eyre

Skins-Movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Older Than America (2008)–writer/director Georgina Lightning (Maswacis Cree)

Older than America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Powwow Highway (1989)–author David Seals (Huron)

Powwow Highway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. The Doe Boy (2001)–writer/director Randy Redroad (Cherokee)

The Doe Boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Winter in the Blood (2013)–author James Welch (Blackfoot)

Winter in the Blood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006)–writer/director Zacharias Kunuk

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Naturally Native (1998)–writer Valerie Red-Horse (Cherokee)

Naturally Native

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. The Business of Fancydancing (2002)–writer/director Sherman Alexie

The Business of Fancydancing

1 thought on “The Most Important Movies by Native American Filmmakers and Artists”

  1. Diana Starr Daniels says:

    I had no idea these directors and films existed! Native Peoples need more PR because the larger community is not going to do it and it’s a loss to all of us.

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