Clockwise from top left: Gil Birmingham in Shouting Secrets, mysterious silhouette from This May Be the Last Time, K. Devery Jacobs in Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Tatanka Means in Tiger Eyes, Tonantzin Carmelo in The Activist, Jason Momoa in Road to Paloma, and Shay Eyre and Cara Gee in Empire of Dirt.

11 Essential Native American Films You Can Watch Online Right Now


In late 2013, we brought you an important list of 10 current Native films—"The 5 Must-See Native Films of 2013" and "5 More Must-See Native Films From 2013"—that had scored big at film festivals and reaped praise from critics. You responded with a mixture of unbridled enthusiasm and puzzlement:

Sounds like a great movie! How the hell will I ever be able to see it?

Well, a year later, seven of those 10 films are available online. And as on-demand video continues to become a completely valid method of releasing movies, festival and indie features are going the streaming route at the same time distributors are booking brick-and-mortar showings. So you can't make it to the festivals and big-city arthouse theaters where many of these films screen? Doesn't matter! Here are 11 films you can watch in your own home, right now.

Pop some popcorn, dim the lights, and hold your own Native Film Festival...

1. Shouting Secrets: iTunes.

Wesley, a young, successful novelist, long ago left Arizona and the San Carlos Apache Reservation in his rear view mirror. He remains close to his mother but alienated the rest of the family with his autobiographical bestseller. He has no intention of returning for his parents anniversary party but finds himself pulled back into the fold. Coming home only underlines what a mess Wesley’s life has become, but he’s not alone in that. Shouting Secrets tells a present day story about a Native-American family with unique struggles but universal truths.​

Awards for Shouting Secrets:

Best Film, American Indian Film Festival 2011
Best Actor: Chaske Spencer, American Indian Film Festival 2011
Best Supporting Actor: Tyler Christopher, American Indian Film Festival 2011
Outstanding Actress in the Leading Role: Q’Orianka Kilcher, Red Nation Film Festival 2012
Best of the Fest Audience Award, Arizona Film Festival 2012
Feature Film Audience Award, Big Island Film Festival 2012
Best Feature Film Audience Award, Breckinridge Festival of Film 2012
Best Narrative Feature, Great Lakes Film Festival 2012
Best Ensemble Cast, Philadelphia FirstGlance Film Festival 2012
Best Feature, Rhode Island International Film Festival 2012
Best Feature Film Audience Award, San Diego Film Festival 2012

2. Empire of Dirt: Vimeo On Demand.

A young single First Nations mother struggling to bridge the generation gap with her daughter Peeka and her mother Minerva.

Awards for Empire of Dirt:

Best Canadian Feature Film—Special Jury Citation, Toronto International Film Festival 2013
Best Actress: Cara Gee, American Indian Film Festival 2014
Best Original Screenplay, Shannon Masters, Genie Awards 2014


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I hope to check these out online. Even IF these films were ever to make it to a "mainstream, blockbuster theater" I might not be able to attend. The cost for a movie these days is prohibitive AND they don't arrange financing.

Jason Depotier
Jason Depotier
Submitted by Jason Depotier on
it would be nice for two historical tv movies to added to online viewing. "Indian Summer: The Oka Crisis" and "One Dead Indian" those are two major pieces of Canadian history...but because it is the truth, and it shows how the governments walk all over us, they will hide it from the world's eyes. :(

Lori Latimer
Lori Latimer
Submitted by Lori Latimer on
Our local library carries Tiger Eyes, the movie based on the novel by Judy Blume. Many times libraries will order these good films at the request of one or more patrons. <3

jennacatlin's picture
Submitted by jennacatlin on
Thanks for sharing it.... would be watching them all soon. <a href="">Meet and Greet Birmingham</a>

Denise Smith
Denise Smith
Submitted by Denise Smith on
The Cherokee Word for Water is an excellent film. It made me proud to have crossed paths with Wilma Mankiller and shaken her hand during her leadership as Chief.

Owen White
Owen White
Submitted by Owen White on
if some one can recommend me as much info on native history that would be awsome! from the uk and all i know for sure is my dads from somewhere origionally from the americas and its frustrating knowing vertually nothing!