*Thunderheart is a loosely based fictional portrayal of events relating to the Wounded Knee incident in 1973. Followers of
the American Indian Movement seized the South Dakota town of Wounded Knee in protest against federal government policy regard- ing Native Americans. Incorporated in the plot is the character of Ray Levoi, played by actor Val Kilmer, as an FBI agent with Sioux heritage investigating a murder on a Native American reservation. Sam Shepard, Graham Greene, Fred Ward and Sheila Tousey star in
Smoke Signals The story centers on Victor Joseph (Adam Beach) and Thomas Builds-the-Fire (Evan Adams) on the Coeur D’Alene Indian Reservation in Plummer, Idaho. Thomas is an eccentric tribe storyteller and Victor is an angry, brooding local basketball star. The two young men are linked through Victor’s father, Arnold (Gary Farmer). Arnold rescued Thomas as an infant from a house fire that killed his parents. Consequently, Thomas considers him a hero. On the other hand, Victor, who endures Arnold’s alcoholism, domestic violence, and eventually abandonment, regards his father with both deep love and bitter resentment. Thomas and Victor grow up together as neighbors and acquaintances, fighting with each other and simultaneously forming a close, albeit uneasy, alliance.
Whale Rider is a 2002 drama film directed by Niki Caro, based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera. The film stars Keisha Castle-Hughes as Kahu Paikea Apirana, a 12-year-old girl struggling to become the chief of the tribe. Her grandfather Koro believes that this is a role reserved for males only. The film was a co-production between New Zealand and Germany. It was shot on location in Whangara, the setting of the novel. The world premiere was on 9 September 2002, at the Toronto International Film Festi- val. The film received critical acclaim upon its release. Castle-Hughes was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
*Pow Wow Highway For the Northern Cheyenne tribe of Lame Deer, Montana, the American Dream has taken a grim detour.
Buddy Red Bow (Martinez), a quick-tempered activist, is battling greedy developers who send fast-talking, slick Sandy Youngblood to the reservation to try to persuade the council to vote in favor of a strip-mining contract. Philbert Bono (Farmer) is a serene hulk of a man guided by sacred visions. He desperately wants to find his medicine, tokens from the spirits, and starts his journey to become a warrior by trading some marijuana, booze, and a few bucks for his ‘war pony’ – a rusted out, beat up 1964 Buick Wildcat he names ‘Protector.’
*Dance Me Outside Set on the Kidabanesee reserve in Northern Ontario. Silas Crow (Ryan Black) is a young man confused about his direction in life; he wants to take an automobile mechanic’s course in college, but is uncertain whether he should apply. His general confusion with life is most readily evident in his appearance. He wears an old, ratty black hat resembling a fedora, as well as a long, black trench coat. Frank Fencepost (Adam Beach) is Crow’s best friend, and Sadie Maracle (Jennifer Podemski) is