Native Americans are the highlight of this summer’s TV slate: 1A: NPR

All episodes of Dark Winds, based on Tony Hillerman’s book series, stream on AMC+

Michael Moriatis/Stalwart Productions/AMC/© Stalwart Productions


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Michael Moriatis/Stalwart Productions/AMC/© Stalwart Productions


All episodes of Dark Winds, based on Tony Hillerman’s book series, stream on AMC+

Michael Moriatis/Stalwart Productions/AMC/© Stalwart Productions

It took 30 years for “Dark Winds” to be adapted for television. The Tony Hillerman series revolves around the Navajo Nation and two tribal policemen trying to solve the murder of a Navajo woman.

The show has already made history for its prominent Indigenous cast and crew, already heading into a second season. All episodes of the first season are available to stream on AMC+.

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But this series is not the only one this summer to present Native Americans in a more authentic way. “Rutherford Falls” and “Reservation Dogs” are both returning for a second season.

The Guardian called the first season of “Reservation Dogs” “a Tarantino-style triumph that shatters stereotypes.” And “Rutherford Falls” is full of “native joy” and comedy.

This is an important moment for a group that has been severely underrepresented in the media. Last year, UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report found that Indigenous people make up less than one percent of acting roles. They were virtually non-existent in creative roles behind the camera.

Even though these shows make more room for these stories to be told, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Clarissa Yazzie, a Diné language and literacy educator, recently spoke out on social media about mispronunciations of the language on Dark Winds despite the predominantly Indigenous writing room.

So how far has the portrayal of Indigenous people in film and television evolved? And what’s next for Indigenous stories on screen?

Chris Eyre, Maya Rose Dittoffand Kiowa Gordon join us for the conversation.

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Nohemi M. Moore