12 TV and Streaming Shows About the Native American Experience and that Celebrate Indigenous Culture

To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, we offer 12 series across multiple genres that highlight the variety of Native American experiences, both past and present.

by | November 8, 2023 | Comments

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Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with television and streaming comedies and dramas that entertain and other series that enlighten viewers about the Native American experience.

100% The American Buffalo (PBS)

What to know about the show: The two-part, four-hour series journeys through more than 10,000 years of North American history, tracing the animal’s evolution, significance to the Great Plains, near demise, and relationship to the Indigenous People of North America.

Where to watch: PBS and | purchase at Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV

Basketball or Nothing (Netflix)

What to know about the show: The “modern-day warriors” on the Chinle High basketball team seek to bring pride to their Arizona Navajo Nation by winning a state championship.

Where to watch: Netflix

100% Dark Winds (AMC)

What to know about the show: Starring Zahn McClarnon (The Son, Westworld, Fargo), Kiowa Gordon (The Red Road, Roswell, New Mexico) and Jessica Matten (Tribal, Burden of Truth), Dark Winds is based on the iconic Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman. The series’ seasons both score at 100% on the Tomatometer, season 1 is Certified Fresh, and the series is renewed for a third. It is created by Graham Roland (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), and John Wirth (Hell of Wheels) serves as showrunner. The series is executive produced by Roland, Wirth, McClarnon, Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Anne Hillerman, Chris Eyre, Vince Gerardis, and Tina Elmo.

Where to watch: AMC+ by subscription | purchase at Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV

75% Frontier (Netflix)

What to know about the show: Jason Momoa stars as half-Irish, half-Cree outlaw and independent fur trader Declan Harp who battles the Hudson’s Bay Company’s corrupt monopoly on the fur trade in 1700s Canada.

Where to watch: Netflix

Little Bird (PBS)

What to know about the show: Bezhig Little Bird and her sister and brother were ripped away from their mother on the Long Pine Reserve in Saskatchewan by police and child welfare agents in 1968. Years later Bezhig, adopted by a Jewish family and renamed Esther Rosenblum, lives in Montreal and begins a search for the family she lost. She discovers she was one of the generation of children forcibly apprehended by the Canadian government through a policy later called the ’60s Scoop.

Where to watch: PBS and| purchase at Prime Video and Apple TV

Mohawk Girls (Peacock)

What to know about the show: Four twenty-something Indigenous women live life and find love on the reservation, but in the small community, partnering can prove literally incestuous.

Where to watch: Peacock

Molly of Denali (PBS)

What to know about the show: The animated kids’ series follows the adventures of 10-year-old native Alaskan Molly Mabray, her family, friends, and dog Suki.

Where to watch: PBS and | by subscription on Prime Video (season 1 free, seasons 2-14 with PBS Kids) | purchase at Vudu and Apple TV

Native America (PBS)

What to know about the show: The two-season series explores the world of the Americas’ First Peoples. Season 1’s four parts reach back 15,000 years of architecture, science, politics, and spirituality. Season 2 of the Native-directed series reveals the beauty and power of today’s Indigenous communities.

Where to watch: PBS and| purchase at Prime Video and Apple TV

- - Navajo Police (Max)

What to know about the show: The three-part docuseries follows trainees at the Navajo Police Training Academy and out into the field.

Where to watch: Max

90% 1923 (Paramount+)

What to know about the show: While its parent series Yellowstone portrays Native American politics as they relate to the Dutton family in a modern setting, prequel 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, relates a story of young Teonna Rainwater’s (Aminah Nieves) perseverance in the face of abuse that is such a gut-punch it could have stood alone as its own series. Related here, Teonna’s tale ties together a harrowing Native experience of the era and the rise of the Dutton dynasty.

Where to watch: Paramount+ by subscription | purchase at Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV

99% Reservation Dogs (FX)

What to know about the show: From creators Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, Reservation Dogs’ three seasons are Certified Fresh — two at 100%. The series, about the exploits of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma, stars young actors D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear Smallhill, Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack, Lane Factor as Cheese, and Elva Guerra as Jackie. Zahn McClarnon, who also stars in Dark Winds, appears here as Big.

Where to watch: Hulu

96% Rutherford Falls (Peacock)

What to know about the show: Created by Ed Helms, Mike Schur, and Sierra Teller Ornelas, the comedy stars Helms and Jana Schmieding as two lifelong best friends who find themselves at a crossroads. Season 1 is Certified Fresh at 92% on the Tomatometer, while season 2 is Fresh at 100%.

Where to watch: Peacock by subscription | purchase at Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV

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