© 2022 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Native Americans are the highlight of this summer's TV slate (Rebroadcast)

All episodes of Dark Winds, based on Tony Hillerman's book series, are streaming on AMC+
All episodes of Dark Winds, based on Tony Hillerman's book series, are streaming on AMC+

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 predominant Native cast and crew, already cinching up a second season. All episodes of the first season are available for streaming on AMC+.

But this series isn’t alone this summer in presenting Native Americans in a more authentic way. “Rutherford Falls” and “Reservation Dogs” are both returning for second seasons.

The Guardian called the first season of “Reservation Dogs” “a stereotype-smashing, Tarantino-esque triumph.” And “Rutherford Falls” is full of “Native joy” and comedy.

It’s a significant moment for a group that has been severely underrepresented in media. Last year, UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report found that indigenous people made up less than one percent of acting roles. They were virtually nonexistent in creative roles behind the camera.

Even though these shows are making more room for these stories to be told, there is still quite a lot of work to do. Diné language and literacy educatorClarissaYazzie recently spoke out on social media about mispronunciations of the language on Dark Winds despite the predominantly Native writer’s room. 

So, how much has the representation of Native people in movies and TV evolved? Andwhat’s next for Native stories on screen?

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5