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Streaming Video Guides

Use this guide to find streaming alternatives to Media Services DVDs.

Indigenous Peoples of America

Titles Available as of July 2022

This is a selective list of streaming video holdings in the American University Library. Streaming guides are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date streaming holdings, please refer to our streaming catalog.

The American Indian: How He Earns a Living

American Outrage

Documentary of the 35-year fight of Carrie Dann and Mary Dann against the U.S. government's attempts to take over traditional Shoshone land in Nevada, part of 60 million acres guaranteed to them in the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley.

Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock

Record of the massive peaceful resistance led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to the Dakota Access Pipeline through their land and underneath the Missouri River.

The Buffalo War

THE BUFFALO WAR is the moving story of the Native Americans, ranchers, government officials and environmental activists currently battling over the yearly slaughter of America's last wild bison. Yellowstone National Park bison that stray from the park in winter are routinely rounded up and sent to slaughter by agents of Montana's Department of Livestock, who fear the migrating animals will transmit the disease brucellosis to cattle, despite the federal Department of Agriculture's urging that this is unlikely. This film explores the controversial killing by joining a 500-mile spiritual march across Montana by Lakota Sioux Indians who object to the slaughter. Led by Lakota elder Rosalie Little Thunder, the marchers express their cultural connection to bison and display the power of tradition and sacrifice.

Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians

Edward S. Curtis was a driven, pioneer photographer who set out in 1900 to document traditional Indian life. He became the most famous photographer of his time and created an enormous body of work. This film tells the dramatic story of Curtis' life, his work, and his changing views of the people he set out to document. 

Cry of the Yurok

The Yuroks, California's largest Native American tribe, have lived near the mouth of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers for 10,000 years. This program details the many problems that beset them as they try to survive: their lands overrun by prospectors and soldiers in the 19th century, the primeval forest cut by lumber companies, environmental destruction that has nearly wiped out the fish on which they traditionally depend. Some of the Yuroks remain on the reservation, others have moved to the cities; all are caught in a many-sided battle between the dominant white world and the world of the Indian.

Dancing in Moccasins: Keeping Native American Traditions Alive

For the nearly two million Native Americans, representing 500 Indian nations, life in the U.S. today is a frustrating struggle to retain their ancient ways while functioning in the modern world, to carve out an identity in an overwhelmingly non-Indian culture. This program examines the needs and problems of today's Native Americans, both those who live on the reservation and those who have chosen the mainstream. The conclusion focuses on celebration and survival as reflected in the continuing tradition of the Powwow. 

Drumbeat for Mother Earth

Argues that persistent toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, DDT, and dioxin, are possibly the greatest threat to the long-term survival of indigenous peoples, including Native Americans. Explores how these chemicals contaminate the traditional food web, violate treaty rights, travel long distances, and are passed from one generation to the next during pregnancy.

Drums Along the Mohawk

In Revolutionary America, Gil Martin takes his new wife Lana back to his farm in upstate New York. The area is remote and a distance from the fort but they are happy living in their one room cabin. With the declaration independence, the settlers soon find themselves at war with the British and their Indian allies. Their farm is burned out and the Martins take work with Sarah McKlennar. The war continues however as the Martins try to make a new life. 

Earl’s Canoe

Follows the entire construction of a traditional Ojibwe birchbark canoe from choosing the tree on Madeleine Island to the launching of the finished craft. Master craftsman Nyholm and his helpers comment throughout, stressing the respect due to the materials and the process.

The Exiles

An account of the problems encountered by Native Americans living in urban areas and caught between two conflicting cultures, as shown by footage of 12 hours in the lives of a group living in Los Angeles.

Family and Culture in a Native American Young Woman

Dr. Winona F. Simms talks with a young Native American woman as she gets ready to go off to college. She is the oldest of 3 children and has a close relationship with her family. When she has had problems in the past, she's immersed herself in her school work as an escape, and as a result, is a very good student. She has concerns about how she and her family will adjust to her being away from home for the first time. Dr. Simms offers examples of how her Native American heritage and culture can help her in her transition and encourages her to seek out Native American groups at her school or the campus counseling center if she needs help. 

A Frontier Conversation

A "Frontier conversation" documents a unique collaboration between indigenous and white historians from Australia and North America. In September 2004, a diverse group travelled through the top end of Australia meeting representatives of the traditional landowners, and engaging in a dialogue about indigenous history. The themes that emerged raised more questions than answers; from cultural appropriation and copyright, to land rights, the role of language and art, and what history means to indigenous communities in the current climate of cultural reclamation and survival. The film asks some difficult questions, such as how valuable can histories written by outsiders to any community be? What are the responsibilities of the historian, indigenous or not, to the people whose stories he or she attempts to tell.  

Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action

Tells the story of four battles in which Native American activists are fighting to preserve their land and culture. 

Honorable Nations

Salamanca is the only city in the United States that is situated entirely on land owned by Native Americans. For 99 years, the townspeople have rented the land upon which their homes stand from the Seneca Indians for $1 a year. They have gotten used to their right to live and to do business on Indian property. But on February 19, 1991 the lease expired. The Seneca Nation felt that it has been badly exploited by the old terms, and now insisted on huge increases - or else it would take back the land. Many of the townspeople were outraged at higher rents, especially as the town was suffering from a depressed economy. The film follows the five years of negotiation, as each side heatedly defended their position. Archival footage, historical photographs and interviews help tell the story of two communities caught in a web of historical injustice. Eventually, a landmark agreement was hammered out which enabled the town to survive. Among its terms is $60 million in reparation by the Federal government to the Senecas, the first Native American tribe to receive this acknowledgement of past wrongs. 

Human Rights in North America

From Thomas Paine's "The Rights of Man," and Henry David Thoreau's "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," to the practice of slavery and the treatment of Native Americans, the idea of human rights in North America has not always matched the deeds. This episode takes a look at "Freedom of My Mind," a documentary on Mississippi's Freedom Summer. Also included are reports on the impact of Canada's hydroelectric project at James Bay on the indigenous people there; the U.S. Army's School of the Americas where some of the soldiers trained there have become some of the worst dictators in Latin America; Andrew Tyndall's commentary on the U.S. media coverage of Native Americans; and an interview with director Haile Gerima about his film on slavery in America, "Sankofa," are also included. 

In The Light of Reverence

Across the United States, Native Americans are struggling to protect their sacred places. Religious freedom, so valued in America, is not guaranteed to those who practice land-based religions. Devils Tower in Wyoming is sacred to the Lakota, who perform sun dances and vision quests nearby. In this film the Lakota struggle to protect their sacred site from climbers and other encroachers.

Inaugurating the National Indian Memorial 

Events of February 22, 1913, inauguration of National American Indian Memorial in Fort Wadsworth, New York. Shows U.S. government officials addressing Indians and ground breaking ceremony with Pres. William Howard Taft and Indian leaders. 

Indigenous Knowledge and Practice of Sustainability

This Miniclip explores the importance of seeking out and listening to the views of native inhabitants about sustainability, derived from continued custodial responsibility to place and country, when developing strategies to effectively manage our environments. Developed in consultation with indigenous peoples, this video will help introduce your students to the use of back-burning, traditional bushfoods, and sustainable uses of natural resources. 

Indigenous Ways of Knowing  

David Begay, Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northern Arizona University and Nancy Maryboy, President and Founder of Indigenous Education Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico invite us to understand Navajo ways of knowing. They describe a worldview that is place-based, emphasizes kinship and connection, and intimately orients the human within an interrelated and unified cosmos. 

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

On a hot July day in 1990, an historic confrontation propelled Native issues in Kanehsatake and the village of Oka, Québec, into the international spotlight and into the Canadian conscience. A powerful feature-documentary emerges that takes you right into the action of an age-old aboriginal struggle. The result is a portrait of the people behind the barricades, providing insight into the Mohawks' unyelding determination to protect their land.

Making a Difference

In many indigenous cultures one question keeps demanding attention: Can we survive in the modern world and should we? This film takes a closer look into this question from the viewpoint of four different indigenous peoples.  

The Mission

An epic about a man of the sword and a man of the cloth who unite to shield the Guarani South American Indian tribe from brutal subjugation by 18th-century colonial empires. 

My People, My Prayers

The Catholic Church converted many of the native peoples of North America when they colonized the New World. Native beliefs, such as honoring the land and sweat lodge rituals, were suppressed and labeled "pagan" and "unorthodox." But now many of those same peoples are rediscovering their native religions after generations of Catholicism. This program examines the spiritual quest behind this return, and the Catholic Church's response as aspects of Native American religion are incorporated into the traditional liturgy. 

Nanook Revisited 

Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North created the very genre of film documentary, with its documentation of Nanook the Inuit and the Eskimo traditions which were even then being threatened by the influences of whites. This program revisits the site of Flaherty's filming, and learns that he staged much of what he filmed, sired children to whose future he paid no heed, and is himself now part of Inuit myth.

Native-American History

Explore the fascinating history of the Native American people. Follow their history from migration to the Americas, to the development of civilizations throughout the American continent. Discover how every part of America was flourishing long before European settlers arrived. See the impact of early Native Americans in North and South America. Discover the 'Cochise Effect' on the cultures of Arizona and Mexico.  

Native-American History: Native American Influence on the US

Discover the fascinating ways in which the U.S. was profoundly affected by the native cultures that were here thousands of years before the Europeans. Explore the ways in which our government, economy, agriculture, medicine, language & legal system are still influenced by Native American contributions. Explore your first impressions of the world 'Indian.' Discover Native American contributions to medicine, agriculture & the environment. 

Native American Religions

In this program, Dennis Wholey has a conversation about Native American religions with Suzan Shown Harjo, executive director of The Morning Star Institute in Washington, D.C. Topics of discussion include the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978; some common aspects of the approximately 300 remaining Native American religions being practiced in the U.S. today; the concepts of a supreme being and associated sacred beings as they exist in Native American culture; the prophecies of the Cheyenne prophet Sweet Medicine and the historical impact of North America's settlers on the land's indigenous peoples; and the pressing need for all Americans, non-native and native alike, to create a better future together. 

Native American Tech

Examines the lives of leaders including Geronimo, Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and Sitting Bull. Describes the decimation of Custer's 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn and the Cheyenne sacking of Julesburg. Explore how medicine men and surgeons tended to the tribes and their warriors. 

No More Smoke Signals

Kili Radio, the "Voice of the Lakota Nation," is broadcast out of a small wooden house in the vast countryside of South Dakota. There, people converge to speak to the community about daily concerns and in doing so, strengthen their sense of identity. Daily existence on America's poorest reservation is hard. 

Our Fires Still Burn

This exciting and compelling one hour documentary invites viewers into the lives of contemporary Native American role models living in the U.S. Midwest. It dispels the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the American horizon, and reveals how they continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society. 

Power Paths - Native Americans Fight for Green Power

How can America truly end its dependence on fossil fuels and transition to green power?. Power Paths is an inspiring documentary about how Native American communities across the West are leading the transition to alternative energy sources.. Ten percent of America's energy comes from Native American lands, including a third of the U.S. coal deposits and hydroelectric dams that feed the grid. These coal mines and plants brought jobs to the region, but they also brought pollution, cancer and environmental destruction.. Power Paths chronicles the efforts of several tribes as they fight to end the harmful use of coal and work to bring clean, renewable energy projects into their communities, including wind and solar power. As Power Paths reveals, many Native American tribes are not waiting for the government to act. Instead, they are actively seeking investors and a way to control their own energy and sell the rest to the power companies.. As the nation at large struggles to disengage itself from the chains of a fossil-fuel-based economy, Power Paths signals cause for hope that an alternative is not somewhere in the future, but possible right now. 

Rhymes for Young Ghouls

Red Crow Mi'gMaq reservation, 1976: by government decree, every Indian child under the age of 16 must attend residential school. In the kingdom of the Crow, that means imprisonment at St. Dymphna’s. That means being at the mercy of “Popper,” the sadistic Indian agent who runs the school. 

Rigoberta Menchu: Broken Silence

In recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 12, 1992. "The celebration of Columbus is for us an insult," said Menchu, one of the most outspoken and articulate and persuasive advocates of native rights. This program presents a profile of this extraordinary woman, whose life has become a symbol of the sufferings, not only of her own Mayan Quiche people, but of all the indigenous people of the Americas. It is a moving portrait, too, of a self-taught woman who dreams of two things: a Guatemalan Congress integrating indigenous and non-indigenous men and women-and having a child "so I can plant my own seed, for better or worse. 

River of Renewal

River of Renewal chronicles the long conflict over the 10 million acre Klamath River Basin, which spans the Oregon-California border. Competing demands for water, food, and energy have pitted farmers, American Indians, and commercial fishermen against each other for decades.. Remarkably, this conflict over resources has led to a consensus for conservation in this vast river basin that was once North America's third greatest salmon-producing river. The outcome will likely be the largest dam removal project in U.S. history and the most ambitious effort ever to restore the habitat of a federally protected species.

Searching for a Native American Identity

This program features the late Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich, a husband-and-wife team who collaborated as writers before his untimely death. They attribute their beliefs in family, community, and place to their Native American heritage: she is half Chippewa, he is half Modoc. As Native Americans, their writing reflects the difficulties of American Indians today. In this program with Bill Moyers, Erdrich and Dorris discuss faith and the search for a Native American identity in a pluralistic society. 

Seasons of a Navajo

This classic anthropological study of a traditional Navajo family, the Neboyias, examines their lifestyle through the four seasons as they travel to each of their hogans-planting, sheepherding, harvesting, and weaving. The documentarist's style is natural and unobtrusive, allowing viewers to share in the Navajo world vision. Filmed in the Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and Window Rock areas of Arizona.

Spirits for Sale: The Commercialization of American India Rituals

Western spiritualists often seek enlightenment through indigenous religions once practiced in different regions around the world. Native American rituals are especially popular, and Europeans stage ceremonies based on American Indian beliefs for which they charge admission. America's original people are not pleased with this development, for they regard this practice as the exploitation of their heritage. They see these performances as "pay to pray" ceremonies with imposters playing the rolls of American natives. Beautifully crafted and filmed, Spirits for Sale explores both sides of an unlikely dispute between native peoples and present-day interpreters of their rituals.

The Sunrise Dance

This documentary focuses on 13-year-old Maureen Nachu, who lives on the Fort Apache Reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona. Describes the traditional coming-of-age ceremony for young Apache women, in which they use special dances and prayers. 

Sweating Indian Style: Conflicts Over Native American Ritual

This documentary is about a group of non-Native women's search for self in "other". The focus is on a specific group of New Age women in Ojai, California who construct a new sweat lodge and perform their own ceremony. 

The Warrior Tradition

The astonishing, heartbreaking, inspiring, and largely-untold story of Native Americans in the United States military. The film chronicles the accounts of Native American warriors from their own points of view.