Indigenous Film Index: North America



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culture groupS


Atikamekw (Atikameks)


The Atikamekw are the Indigenous inhabitants of the subnational country or territory they call Nitaskinan (‘Our Land’), in the upper Saint-Maurice River valley of Quebec (about 300 kilometres (190 mi) north of Montreal), Canada. The Atikamekw language, usually considered a variety of Cree in the Algonquian family, is closely related to that of the Innu. Their name, which literally means ‘lake whitefish’, is sometimes also spelt Atihkamekw, Attikamekw, Attikamek, or Atikamek. The French colonists referred to them as Têtes-de-Boules, meaning ‘Ball-Heads’ or ‘Round-Heads’.

Learn more:
Atikamekw – Center for Indigenous Conservation and Developmental Alternatives
Atikamekw – The Canadian Encyclopedia
Wikipedia

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Aztec


The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican Indigenous culture that flourished in central Mexico from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The name Aztec is derived from Aztlán (variously translated as “White Land,” “Land of White Herons,” or “Place of Herons”).

Learn more:
The Aztecs – Khan Academy
Women in Aztec Civilization – Wikipedia
Wikipedia

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Cherokee


The Cherokee are one of the Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in their homelands, in towns along river valleys of what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, edges of western South Carolina, northern Georgia and northeastern Alabama. Cherokee is an Iroquoian language, and the only Southern Iroquoian language spoken today. Their name is derived from a Creek word meaning “people of different speech”; many prefer to be known as Keetoowah or Tsalagi.

Learn more:
Cherokee Nation – Cherokee.org
Cherokee Culture – Smithsonian Institute
Wikipedia

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Chumash


The Chumash are a Native American people of the central and southern coastal regions of California, in portions of what is now San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, extending from Morro Bay in the north to Malibu in the south. Their territory included three of the Channel Islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel. Their Chumashan language, though nearly extinct, is now in a period of revitalization. The name Chumash means “bead maker.”

Learn more:
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians – santaynezchumash.org
Humaliwo: An Ethnographic Overview of the Chumash in Malibu – California Department of Parks and Recreation
Wikipedia

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Colville


The Confederate Tribes of the Colville Reservation consist of twelve individual tribes. The tribes are known in English as: the Colville, Nespelem, Sanpoil, Lakes (after the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, or Sinixt), Palus, Wenatchi, Chelan, Entiat, Methow, southern Okanagan, Sinkiuse-Columbia, and Nez Perce. Some members of the Spokane tribe also settled the Colville reservation after it was established. The Colville Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation in the northwest United States, in north central Washington, inhabited and managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, which is federally recognized.The tribes’ traditionally communicated in Salishan languages.

Learn more:
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation – storymaps.arcgis.com
Colville Tribes – colvilletribes.com
Colville Tribal Language – cct-lan.com
Wikipedia

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Denésoliné (Chipewyan)


Denésoliné is an Athabaskan language of Northern Canada. Formerly known as “Chipewyan,” most community members prefer the name Dene, which simply means “people.” or Dene Suline, which means “original people.” These names can be seen spelled in several different ways including Dënë, Dené, Denesuline, Dene Soline, Denésoliné, Dënësųłı̨në, or Dënesųłı̨né. The reason for all the different spellings is that Dene was not traditionally a written language, and different orthographies have been developed over time.They originally inhabited a large triangular area with a base along the 1,000-mile-long (1,600 km) Churchill River and an apex some 700 miles (1,100 km) to the north; the land comprises boreal forests divided by stretches of barren ground.

Learn more:
Denésoliné (Chipewyan) Knowledge of Barren-Ground Caribou Movements – University of Manitoba
Chipewyan – Encyclopedia.com
Chipewyan – Wikipedia

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Diné


The Diné, also known as Navajo, are a Native American people of the Southwestern United States. The Navajo Nation has the largest reservation in the country. The reservation straddles the Four Corners region and covers more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 square km) of land in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The Diné are speakers of a Na-Dené Southern Athabaskan language they call Diné bizaad (lit. ‘People’s language’). The term Navajo comes from Spanish missionaries and historians who referred to the Pueblo Indians through this term, although they referred to themselves as the Diné, meaning ‘the people’.

Learn more:
Navajo people – The Diné – Navajopeople.org
Navajo Nation – Indian Health Service
Wikipedia
Diné Culture – Youtube

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Hopi


The Hopi are a Native American tribe who primarily live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Hopi (Hopi: Hopílavayi) is a Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Hopi people of northeastern Arizona, United States. The Hopi Tribe is a sovereign nation within the United States and has government-to-government relations with the United States federal government.The Hopi encountered Spaniards in the 16th century, and are historically referred to as Pueblo people, because they lived in villages (pueblos in the Spanish language).

Learn more:
The Hopi Tribe – hopi-nsn.gov
Hopi Cultural Center – hopiculturalcenter.com
Wikipedia

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Innu


The Innu, formerly known as the Naskapi-Montagnais Indians, are an Algonkian-speaking people whose homeland (Nitassinan) is the eastern portion of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula. The word “Innu” means “human being”, and the Innu language is called “Innu-aimun”.

Learn more:
Innu Nation – Innu.ca
Innu Nation – Indian Law Resource Center 
Heritage: Newfoundland and Labrador

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FILMS


Iñupiak (Inupiaq)


The Iñupiak (Inupiaq) are a group of Alaska Natives, whose traditional territory roughly spans northeast from Norton Sound on the Bering Sea to the northernmost part of the Canada–United States border and often claim to be the first people of the Kauwerak. The Iñupiaq language is an Inuit-Yupik-Unangan language and has been spoken in the northern regions of Alaska for as long as 5,000 years.The name “Inupiaq,” meaning “real or genuine person” (inuk ‘person’ plus -piaq ‘real, genuine’), is often spelled “Iñupiaq,” particularly in the northern dialects. It can refer to a person of this group (“He is an Inupiaq”) and can also be used as an adjective (“She is an Inupiaq woman”).

Learn more:
Inupiaq (Inupiat) – nnlm.gov
Iñupiat Ilitqusiat – Alaska Native Knowledge Network (University of Alaska -Fairbanks)
Wikipedia

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Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl)


The Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw, also known as the Kwakiutl are Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Most live in their traditional territory on northern Vancouver Island, nearby smaller islands including the Discovery Islands, and the adjacent British Columbia mainland. The name Kwakiutl was applied to a group of Indigenous peoples of northern Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Strait, and the Johnstone Strait. They are now known as Kwakwaka’wakw, which means “Kwak’wala-speaking-peoples.” Kwak’wala is a Wakashan language of the Northwest Coast, spoken by around 250 native people in British Columbia.

Learn more:
The Kwakwaka’wakw Potlatch on  the Northwest Coast – umispotlatch.ca
Kwakwaka’wakw People: Ways of Giving, Ways of Living – National Museum of the American Indian

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Mazatec


The Mazatec are an Indigenous people of Mexico who inhabit the Sierra Mazateca in the state of Oaxaca and some communities in the adjacent states of Puebla and Veracruz. The Mazatecan languages are a group of closely related Indigenous languages spoken by some 200,000 people. The name Mazatec means “Deer People” in the Aztec or Nahuatl language.

Learn more:
Mazatec – Encyclopedia.com
Wikipedia
The Etymology of the name Mazatec – mexico.sil.org

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FILMS


Mi'kmaq (Micmac)


The Mi’kmaq (Micmac) are Indigenous people of eastern Canada, variously spelled Mi’kmaq, Míkmaq, Mikmak, Mi’gmak, Mick Mack, or Mikmaq. Their original term for themselves was Lnu’k (or L’nu’k), “the people.” Mi’kmaq comes from a word in their own language meaning “my friends”; it is currently tge preferred tribal name. The Mi’kmaq language, Mi’kmawi’simk, is an Algonquian language.

Learn more:
Mi’kmaq – Wikipedia
Aroostook Band of Micmacs – micmac-nsn.gov
Heritage: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Minneconjou Lakota


Minneconjou Lakota are a Native American people constituting a subdivision of the Lakota people, who formerly inhabited an area in western present-day South Dakota from the Black Hills in to the Platte River. The contemporary population lives mostly in west-central South Dakota. Siouan language speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and then migrated to or originated in the Ohio Valley. The name Minneconjou (Miniconjou) means ‘Plants by the Water.’

Learn more:
Mnikoju: The Way of the People – Youtube
Chief Spotted Elk – Wikipedia
Wikipedia

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Minnesota Chippewa


The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) is the centralized governmental authority for six Chippewa (Ojibwe or Anishinaabe) bands in the U.S. state of Minnesota. Chippewa (native name: Anishinaabemowin;also known as Southwestern Ojibwa, Ojibwe, Ojibway, or Ojibwemowin) is an Algonquian language spoken from upper Michigan westward to North Dakota in the United States. It represents the southern component of the Ojibwe language.

Learn more:
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – mnchippewatribe.org
Wikipedia

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FILMS


Natchez


The Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area in the Lower Mississippi Valley, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi in the United States. They spoke a language with no known close relatives, although it may be very distantly related to the Muskogean languages of the Creek Confederacy. Ani Natsi is the Cherokee name for Natchez.

Learn more:
The Natchez Nation
History of the Natchez people – Natcheznation.com
Wikipedia

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Netsilingmiut Inuit (Netsilik)


The Netsilingmiut Inuit (Netsilik) Inuit who live predominantly in the communities of Kugaaruk and Gjoa Haven of the Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut and to a smaller extent in Taloyoak and the north Qikiqtaaluk Region, in Canada. Their name means “people of the place where there is seal” and probably derives from the name of a lake, Netsilik (Seal), on Boothia Peninsula. The native language is a dialect of Inuit-Inupiaq (Inuktitut) called Natsilingmiutut.

Learn more:
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Netsilik – Wikipedia

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Nunatsiarmiut


Nunatsiarmiut (also known as Baffin Island Inuit) are Indigenous peoples who live on Baffin Island, the largest island in the Arctic Archipelago and in the territory of Nunavut. Inuktitut is a language commonly spoken by many Baffin Island Inuit. The language has several subdialects, including North and South Baffin.

Learn more:
Baffin Island Inuit People – Youtube.com
The Canadian Encyclopedia

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FILMS


Nunavummiut


Nunavummiut is the name of the Indigenous residents of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. While the name can be translated into “people of the land,” the Inuit in this area had no generic terms for themselves. Inuktitut is the language they speak, though their a variations of dialect depending on the region.

Learn more:
Government of Nunavut – gov.nu.ca
Storymaps.arcgis.com

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Oglala Lakota


The Oglala Lakota are one of the seven subtribes of the Lakota people who, along with the Dakota, make up the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires). Their language is also called Lakota. Many Oglala reject the term “Sioux” due to the hypothesis (among other possible theories) that its origin may be a derogatory word meaning “snake” in the language of the Ojibwe. Lakota means “allies, friends or those who are united.” Oglala means “to scatter one’s own.”

Learn more:
Oglala Lakota Nation – oglalalakotanation.org
Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce – pineridgechamber.com
Wikipedia

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Ohlone


The Ohlone, formerly known as Costanoans (from Spanish costeño meaning ‘coast dweller’), are a Native American people of the Northern California coast. When Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley. The Ohlone languages make up a sub-family of the Utian language family.Older proposals place Utian within the Penutian language phylum, while newer proposals group it as Yok-Utian. The name Ohlone means “people.”

Learn more:
Sogorea Te’ Land Trust – sogoreate-landtrust.org
Confederated Villages of Lisjan – villagesoflisjan.org
Muwekma Ohlone Tribe – muwekma.org
The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone – ramaytush.org

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Ojibwe


The most populous tribe in North America, the Ojibwe live in both the United States and Canada and occupy land around the entire Great Lakes, including in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario. The name “Ojibwe” may be drawn from either the puckered seam of the Ojibwe moccasin or the Ojibwe custom of writing on birch bark. Ojibwe is not a single standardized language, but a chain of linked local varieties, grouped into nearly a dozen dialects.

Learn more:
Ojibwe – Wikipedia
The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary – Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota
Minnesota Historical Society

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Paiute


The Paiutes are part of the Numic speaking peoples of the Uto-Aztecan language family. The Paiute dialect, Monoish Genus, or Northern Numic, began to form in about 500 A.D. when small family groups moved into eastern Nevada and southwestern Utah. The Northern Numic (Paiute) peoples either displaced or absorbed the preexisting Fremont culture and became the dominant group in the area by 1,000 A.D. As they were related to the Ute culture, their name means “true Ute.”

Learn more:
Paiutes – Wikipedia
Utah American Indian Digital Archive

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Quinault


The Quinault are a group of Native American peoples from western Washington in the United States. The name “Quinault” is an anglicized version of kʷínayɬ, the name of a village at the mouth of the Quinault River, today called Taholah. Quinault (Kʷínaył) is a member of the Tsamosan (Olympic) branch of the Coast Salish family of Salishan languages.

Learn more:
Quinault Indian Nation – quinaultindiannationl.com
Quinault Indian Nation – Northwest Portland Indian Health Board
Wikipedia

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Rarámuri (Tarahumara)


The Rarámuri or Tarahumara are a group of Indigenous people of the Americas living in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico. Originally inhabitants of much of Chihuahua, the Rarámuri retreated to the high sierras and canyons such as the Copper Canyon in the Sierra Madre Occidental on the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. The Rarámuri language belongs to the Uto-Aztecan family. Although it is in decline under pressure from Spanish, it is still widely spoken. The Tarahumara word for themselves, Rarámuri, means “runners on foot” or “those who run fast” in their native tongue according to some early ethnographers though this interpretation has not been fully agreed upon.

Learn more:
The Tarahumara – Milwaukee Public Museum
Wikipedia 

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Salish (Flathead)


The Salish (Flathead) are a Salishan speaking group of Native Americans, and one of three tribes of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation in Montana. Bitterroot Salish, or Flathead, originally lived in an area west of Billings, Montana extending to the continental divide in the west and south of Great Falls, Montana extending to the Montana-Wyoming border. In 1891 they were forcibly moved to the Flathead Reservation. Called the Flathead Indians by the first white men who came to the Columbia River, the Bitterroot Salish call themselves Salish (“the people”).

Learn more:
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes – csktribes.org
Flathead Watershed Sourcebook – flatheadwatershed.org
Wikipedia

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Seminole


The Seminole are a Native American people originally from Florida. Today, they live in Oklahoma and Florida, and comprise three federally recognized tribes: the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, as well as independent groups. The word “Seminole” is derived from the Muscogee word simanó-li. The Spanish called them címarrones, which means “runaway” or “wild ones.” For many it is considered an insult. Historically the Seminole spoke Mikasuki and Creek, both Muskogean languages.

Learn more:
Seminole Tribe of Florida – semtribe.com
Seminole history – Museum of Florida History
Wikipedia

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Shoshone


The Shoshone are a Native American tribe with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern. The Northern are concentrated in eastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and north-eastern Utah. The Eastern lived in Wyoming, northern Colorado and Montana. The Western ranged from central Idaho, northwestern Utah, central Nevada, and in California about Death Valley and Panamint Valley. The name “Shoshone” comes from Sosoni, a Shoshone word for high-growing grasses. Some neighboring tribes call the Shoshone “Grass House People,” based on their traditional homes made from sosoni. Shoshones call themselves Newe, meaning “People.” The Shoshoni language is spoken by approximately 1,000 people today. It belongs to the Central Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family.

Learn more:
Shoshone – Wikipedia 
Shoshone Culture – Utah Valley University
Shoshoni Language Project – University of Utah
New World Encyclopedia

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FILMS


Siberian Yupik


The Siberian Yupik on St. Lawrence Island live in the villages of Savoonga and Gambell, and are widely known for their skillful carvings of walrus ivory and whale bone, as well as the baleen of bowhead whales. St. Lawrence Island Yupik (also known as Siberian Yupik) is spoken in the two St. Lawrence Island villages, Gambell and Savoonga. The language of St. Lawrence Island is nearly identical to the language spoken across the Bering Strait on the tip of Siberia’s Chukchi Peninsula. Yup’ik (plural Yupiit) comes from the Yup’ik word yuk meaning “person” plus the post-base -pik meaning “real” or “genuine”. Thus, it literally means “real people.”

Learn more:
Siberian Yupik – Alaska Native Language Center 
Siberian Yupik people – Youtube
Wikipedia

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Tlingit


The Tlingit are Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their language is the Tlingit language (natively Lingít, pronounced [ɬɪ̀nkɪ́tʰ]),in which the name means ‘People of the Tides’.

Learn more:
Tlingit – Wikipedia 
Our History – Central Council: Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
The Tlingit people

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Tsimshian


The Tsimshian people who live around Terrace and Prince Rupert, on the north coast of British Columbia and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. The Tsimshian speak a language, called Sm’algyax, which translates as “real or true tongue.” The Tsimshian also speak a language variety similar to Gitxsan and Nisga’a (two inland Tsimshianic languages), but differentiated from the regional Tsimshian variations. In 2016, only 160 people in Canada were Tsimshian speakers. Tsimshian” means “people inside the Skeena River.”

Learn more:
Tsimshian – Wikipedia
Tsimshian Nation – American Museum of Natural History 
New World Encyclopedia

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White Mountain Apache


Apache is a classification term for the White Mountain Apache and all other Apache peoples. Apache is an Athabaskan (Na-Dene) language of the American Southwest, particularly Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. There are at least two distinct Apache languages: Western Apache and Eastern Apache. The name Apache comes from a Zuni word meaning “our enemies”; their own names for themselves are Ndee, Inday, and Dine’é, which mean “the people” in their languages. Today most Apache people also use the name “Apache.”

Learn more:
White Mountain Apache Tribe – whitemountainapache.org
White Mountain Apache Tribe – Inter Tribal Council of Arizona 
White Mountain Apache – Arizona State University
Wikipedia

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Yuchi (Euchee)


The Yuchi (Euchee) people are a Native American tribe based in Oklahoma. In the 16th century, Yuchi people lived in the eastern Tennessee River valley in Tennessee. In the late 17th century, they moved south to Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, settling near the Muscogee Creek people. Some also migrated to the panhandle of Florida. Today, the Yuchi live primarily in the northeastern Oklahoma area, where many are enrolled citizens of the federally recognized Muscogee (Creek) Nation. They maintain a distinct cultural identity, and some speak the Yuchi language, a linguistic isolate. The term Yuchi translated to “over there sit/live” or “situated yonder.” Their name for themselves, Tsoyaha or Coyaha, means “Children of the Sun.”

Learn more:
Yuchi (Euchee) – Oklahoma Historical Society 
Wikipedia

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Yup'ik


The Yup’ik are an Indigenous people of western and southwestern Alaska ranging from southern Norton Sound southwards along the coast of the Bering Sea on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (including living on Nelson and Nunivak Islands) and along the northern coast of Bristol Bay as far east as Nushagak Bay and the northern Alaska Peninsula at Naknek River and Egegik Bay. Yup’ik (plural Yupiit) comes from the Yup’ik word yuk meaning “person” plus the post-base -pik meaning “real” or “genuine”. Thus, it literally means “real people.” The ethnographic literature sometimes refers to the Yup’ik people or their language as Yuk or Yuit. In the Hooper Bay-Chevak and Nunivak dialects of Yup’ik, both the language and the people are known as Cup’ik. The use of an apostrophe in the name “Yup’ik”, compared to Siberian “Yupik”, exemplifies the Central Alaskan Yup’ik’s orthography, where “the apostrophe represents gemination [or lengthening] of the ‘p’ sound”.

Learn more:
Yup’ik – Alaska Native Collections (Smithsonian Institute)
Wikipedia

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Zuni


The Zuni are Native American Pueblo peoples native to the Zuni River valley. The current day Zuni are a Federally recognized tribe and most live in the Pueblo of Zuni on the Zuni River, a tributary of the Little Colorado River, in western New Mexico, United States. In addition to the reservation, the tribe owns trust lands in Catron County, New Mexico, and Apache County, Arizona. The Zuni call their homeland Halona Idiwan’a or Middle Place. Their name for themselves is A’shiwi (Shi’wi), meaning “the flesh.” The name “Zuni” was a Spanish adaptation of a word of unknown meaning. The Zuni traditionally speak the Zuni language, a language isolate that has no known relationship to any other Native American language.

Learn more:
Pueblo of Zuni – ashiwi.org
The Zuni Way – Smithsonian Magazine
Wikipedia

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