Indigenous storytelling on TV is enjoying a boom, and Native American Heritage Month is the perfect time to celebrate those who contribute to it.
Why it matters: For a long time, Native Americans have faced a lack of proper representation and misrepresentation in the media. But things are gradually changing for the better as TV networks emphasize diversity and inclusion.
This shift provides an opportunity to experience more authentic Native American stories in front of and behind the camera.
Here are two must-watch shows for Native American Heritage Month (plus one on the way!) that you won’t want to miss.
1. Marvel’s “Echo”
Premiering in January 2024, Marvel’s “Echo” is the first superhero series centered on a deaf and Native American character, Maya Lopez, who made her debut in the 2021 series “Hawkeye.”
“Echo” promises to be a groundbreaking addition to the representation of Indigenous stories in mainstream media.
- Deaf Native American newcomer Alaqua Cox, who grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, stars as Echo.
- The series’ director prioritized representation, partnering with the Choctaw Nation and incorporating deaf and Native cast and crew members for an authentic portrayal.
Where to watch: The five-episode miniseries will be released in its entirety simultaneously on Disney+ and Hulu on January 10, 2024.
2. AMC’s “Dark Winds”
Just renewed for its third season, “Dark Winds” is a detective drama that follows the story of two Tribal police officers in the 1970s on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation.
The series not only provides much-needed visibility to Native American actors but also elevates their stories, culture, and traditions to the forefront of mainstream media.
- The show’s production staff, in front of and behind the camera, is made up of more than 90% of people of Indigenous American descent.
- The production team consulted with Navajo cultural experts and community members to ensure the portrayal of traditions and beliefs was accurate and respectful.
- The series more than doubled its Season 1 viewership on AMC+ with the first two episodes of its second season.
3. FX’s “Reservation Dogs”
Just wrapping up its third and final season, “Reservation Dogs” is a comedy-drama that follows the lives of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma.
The series is a testament to the power of storytelling that authentically represents and challenges preconceptions about Native American life.
- The show blazed a trail as the first mainstream TV series in which every writer, director, and series regular performer is Indigenous.
- The show’s producers conducted outreach in Native American communities to find actors who could play the characters on the show.
Where to watch: “Reservation Dogs” is an FX original available on Hulu.
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