By: Ruben Arteaga
May I ask you a question? If I asked you to name a Native American Actor, did anyone come to mind other than Taylor Launter whose Indigenous heritage is distant at best, but can be traced to the Odawa and Potawatomi tribes. Why didn’t Wes Studi, a Cherokee, come to mind? Maybe even Martin Sensmeir of the Tlingit and Koyukon tribe of Alaska.
There are a lot of Native Americans in films but they might not always get the role that shares much about their culture/heritage. This can be an issue if the only films that we are watching are ones filled with misinformation and stereotypes:
If you want something close to authentic, real, and honest, here are some of my favorite films that helped me want to learn more on my own outside the world of film.
I hope these films will help you understand the Native American Experience and inspire you to learn more about those who have lived on this land before us.
Born in Newport Beach and raised in Irvine, Ruben Arteaga (he/him) is a first generation in the states and identify as Mestizo(Indigenous/Spanish). He is currently enrolled in Santa Ana college majoring in Ethnic Studies. His end goal is to join the United Nations and help create more cultural programs for youth.