American Indian Film Series

The American Indian Cultural House Film Series

The American Indian Cultural House Film Series is hosted by the University of Minnesota’s American Indian Cultural House (AICH) Living Learning Community. The film series was initiated in spring 2010. Since then students participating in the AICH host the three event film series made open and free to the public during the months of February, March, and April. Past film series highlighted have included films featuring humor, warriors, misappropriation of culture, identity, environment, and media.

The purpose of the film series is to provide leadership development and event planning skills for first-year and alumni students of the AICH, a living learning community partnership with the Department of American Indian Studies, the Office of Admissions, the University Libraries, and Housing & Residential Life. The film series events are educational opportunities that bring forth indigenous perspectives to provide contexts for past and contemporary American Indian issues and anti-racism work. In efforts to create educational opportunities for the University campus, the Twin Cities American Indian community, and high school students the film series is promoted to the general public.

Spring 2018 American Indian Film Series Information:





American Indian Cultural House

9th Annual American Indian

Film Series

Next Film:

Rescheduled for Monday March 19th!

5:30pm Doors Open & 6:00pm Film Starts

Any questions regarding the event, please contact the Circle of Indigenous Nations at 612-624-2555 or by email at


Check out past American Indian Film Series Below:

American Indian Cultural House Presents

The 8th Annual American Indian Film Series

Monday February 6th, 2017

Monday March 6th, 2017

Monday April 3rd, 2017 


For more information regarding the film series, please contact the Circle of Indigenous Nations


phone: 612-624-2555

In the White Man’s Image                February 6, 2017

Schools taught Native Americans to imitate white men in a liberal "civilizing" mission in 1875. A story of cultural genocide -- a humanist experiment gone bad.

        -Public Broadcast Station (PBS) website

Smoke Signals                                        March 6, 2017

Smoke Signals explores the nature of Native American stereotypes in popular cinema by both seriously challenging them and humorously poking fun at them. At times, the reference to standard Indian clichés, types, and stereotypes takes the form of a simple line of dialogue or a joke; at other times it is interwoven into the fabric of the characters.

 -Turner Classic Movies website

On and Off the Res w/Charlie Hill           April 3, 2017

Documents the art of stand-up comedy and Indian humor through the experiences of comedian, Charlie Hill. Will Rogers, Steve Allen, Dick Gregory, Floyd Westerman and others are featured.

             -Upstream Videos Productions website

University of Minnesota's American Indian Cultural House Proudly Presents

A Special Film Event

For the 7th Annual American Indian Film Series

Free and Open to the Public!

Jones Hall Auditorium

27 Pleasant Street SE., Minneapolis, MN 55455

5:30 p.m. Doors open

6:00 p.m. Film 

*Light refreshments will be served

Your RSVP is encouraged, but not required. 

Looking Toward Home: An Urban Indian Experience

Looking Toward Home: An Urban Indian Experience is a one-hour documentary which explains how government relocation programs in the 1950's enticed significant numbers of Native Americans to leave the reservation for life in major cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The life and times of urban Indians is shown primarily through the eyes of these individuals and subsequent generations as they maintain their tribal identity far away from the culturally nuturing climate of the reservation.

- Snag Films movie website


2015 American Indian Cultural House Film Series Poster

Share the flyer!

Facebook Event Page!

University of Minnesota's American Indian Cultural House Proudly Presents

6th Annual America Indian Film Series

The American Sound:

American Indian Dance and Music


Free and Open to the Public!

Jones Hall Auditorium

27 Pleasant Street SE., Minneapolis, MN 55455

5:30 p.m. Doors open

6:00 p.m. Film

Ojibwe Music - AICH Film Series 2015

"Ojibwe Music"

Monday, February 9, 2015

Eddie Benton-Benai describes the roles that instruments such as the shaker, flute and drum play in Ojibwe life. Tribal members perform traditional music. Also shown are the Spirit Bird Singers, a group of younger musicians carrying on and extending the traditions.

-Wisconsin Public Television website

Dancing from the Heart - AICH Film Series 2015

"Dancing from the Heart"

Monday, March 9, 2015

The documentary "Dancing from the Heart," centering on Andrew Garcia of Ohkay Owingeh/ San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, and his family dance group, the Tewa Dancers from the North, gives the audience a close-up view of the historically mysterious and magnetic Pueblo culture and dance, as represented by a vibrant young family.

-Dancing from the Heart - movie website

Sousa on the Rez - AICH Film Series 2015

"Sousa on the Rez: Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum"

Monday, April 13, 2015

When you hear the phrase "Native American music" you may not think of tubas, trumpets and Sousa marches. Yet this rich musical tradition has been a part of Native American culture for over one hundred years.

-Sousa on the Rez website


Inaugural Year: Native Humor

2nd Year: Native Warriors

3rd Year: Misappropriation of Culture

4th Year: Identity

5th Year: Environment

In the Light of Reverence - AICH Film Series 2014

"In the Light of Reverence"

Monday, February 10, 2014

In the Light of Reverence is a 72-minute documentary on Native American struggles to protect landscapes of spiritual significance. The film documents obstacles to religious freedom for land-based practitioners, and impacts on sacred sites that range from mining and ski resorts to New Age practices and rock-climbing.

-Bullfrog Films, PBS website

Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison - AICH Film Series 2014

"Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison"

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tens of millions of bison once roamed North America. For 10,000 years, Native Americans on the Great Plains had a sacred relationship with the animal, relying on it for food, clothing, and shelter. But with the arrival of European Americans and their Manifest Destiny, ready to conquer the West and all of its resources, bison became nearly extinct, and Plains culture was forever changed.

-Doug Hawes-Davis, High Plains Films, PBS website

Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change - AICH Film Series 2014

"Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change"

Monday, April 14, 2014

This new documentary, the world’s first Inuktitut language film on the topic, takes the viewer “on the land” with elders and hunters to explore the social and ecological impacts of a warming Arctic. This unforgettable film helps us to appreciate Inuit culture and expertise regarding environmental change and indigenous ways of adapting to it.



"Black Indians: An American Story"

"Black Indians: An American Story" brings to light a forgotten part of Americans past - the cultural and racial fusion of Native and African Americans. Narrated by James Earl Jones, "Black Indians: An American Story" explores what brought the two groups together, what drove them apart and the challenges they face today.

Screened on Tuesday, February 12, 2013


"Foster Child"

In this documentary, filmmaker Gil Cardinal searches for his biological family to try and understand how he ended up in foster care as an infant. In his search, Cardinal encounters frustration and loss, but eventually finds answers and a new appreciation of his Métis culture.

Screened on Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Up Heartbreak Hill"

The hopes and heartbreaks of senior year of high school comprise a defining part of teenage life and lore in America. Graduation marks the end of childhood, partings from family, friends and community and the start of a future that is both exciting and scary. But for Thomas Martinez, a statewide high school cross-country and track star, and Tamara Hardy, an academic as well as athletic star, growing up on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico has heightened these tensions in ways particular to Native American history and contemporary reservation life. Erica Scharf's new documentary,Up Heartbreak Hill, is a chronicle of one fateful year in the lives of two talented kids who must figure out not only how to become young adults, but what it means to be both Native and modern.

Screened on Tuesday, April 16, 2013

AICH 3rd Annual Spring Film Series.jpg

"In Whose Honor?"

"In Whose Honor?" takes a critical look at the long-running practice of "honoring" Native American Indians by using them as mascots and nicknames in sports. In this moving and award-winning documentary, Native Americans speak out about the hurtful and harmful effects of stereotyped sports images on both Natives and non-Natives alike.
-Jay Rosenstein Productions website

Screened on February 16th, 2014




"Edward S. Curtis: Coming to the Light"

Edward Sheriff Curtis, or the "Shadow Catcher" as he was later called by some of the tribes, took over 40,000 images and recorded rare ethnographic information from over eighty American Indian tribal groups, ranging from the Eskimo or Inuit people of the far north to the Hopi people of the Southwest. This film explores the history of Curtis' accumulated works.
-George Horse Capture, American Masters, PBS website

Screened on March 20th, 2012

"Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian"

"Reel Injun is an entertaining and insightful look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Travelling through the heartland of America and into the Canadian North, Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the world's understanding - and misunderstanding - of Natives."
-The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television

Screened on April 19th, 2012



AICH 2nd Annual Spring Film Series.jpg

"We Shall Remain: Geronimo"

We Shall Remain is a groundbreaking mini-series and provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. It include five 90-minute documentaries spanning three hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective. Episode 4 focuses on the life and politics of Apache warrior Geronimo.

Screened on February 16, 2011


"Sitting Bull a Stone in my Heart"

An 83-minute documentary film on the great American Indian Lakota chief, spiritual leader and warrior as he has never been seen before on the screen.

Screened on March 9, 2011






"Way of the Warrior"

Exploring the warrior ethic among Native Americans, this documentary also reveals how Native communities have traditionally viewed their warriors and why, during the 20th century, Native men and women have signed up for military service at a rate three times higher than non-Indians.

Screened on April 13, 2011





AICH Inaugural Spring Film Series.jpg



"Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew"

Take an in-depth laugh-a-minute tour of complex issues like Native identity, politics and racism, wrap them neatly inside one-liners, guffaws and comedic performances, and you have Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew. This film hilariously overturns the conventional notion of the stoic Indian and shines a light on an overlooked element of Native culture - humour and its healing powers.

Meet an engaging cast of characters including Don Kelly, one of Canada's hottest young stand-up comics, whose Indian name means Runs Like a Girl. He uses comedy to skewer stereotypes of the apathetic Indian. Sharon Shorty and Jackie Bear from Whitehorse, Yukon, portray Sarah and Susie, two elderly Native ladies discussing their daily activities and their love of Bingo and Kentucky Fried Chicken. And while they've been making people laugh across the country with their portrayal of two quirky elders, they also play a role as community healers.

Screened on March 24, 2010












"Qallunaat: Why White People are Funny"

What's so funny about white people, otherwise known as Qallunaat to the Inuit? Well, among other curious behaviours, Qallunaat ritualistically greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain a lot about being cold and seem to want to dominate the world.

This docucomedy is a collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak. Zebedee is CEO and head researcher of the mythical Qallunaat Studies Institute (QSI). According to Nungak, "Qallunaat ought to be the object of some kind of study by other cultures. The more I thought about the way they have studied us over the years it occurred to me, why don't we study them?"

In its use of archival clips, Why White People Are Funny pokes as much fun at the illustrious history of NFB documentaries as it does at society in the south. Of course, well before the NFB came into existence, and at least as early as the classic 1922 feature "Nanook of the North," white society has been fascinated with native subjects, studying them as exotic specimens, documenting their cultural and social behaviours. That tendency to frame a world of Eskimo "others" dominated both film Why White People Are Funny brings the documentary form to an unexpected place. Those who were holding the mirror up to Inuit culture finally have it turned back on themselves. The result is not always pretty, but it sure is amusing. From the Inuit point of view, visitors from the south are nothing less than "accidents waiting to happen."

Why White People Are Funny is a humbling portrait of what it must feel like to be the object of the white man's gaze. Fresh and orginal, this documentary has that rare ability to educate with wit.

Screened on April 21, 2010


All films that are part of the AICH Film Series are available through the University Libraries. The University of Minnesota's American Indian Cultural House Living Learning Community is a partnership with the Circle of Indigenous Nations, the Department of American Indian Studies, the Office of Admissions, Housing & Residential Life, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence and University Libraries.


Past sponsors of the AICH Film Series have been the University of Minnesota's

American Indian Science and Engineering Society
American Indian Student Cultural Center
Circle of Indigenous Nations
Coca-Cola Company
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Dance Program
Department of American Indian Studies
Housing and Residential Life
Huntley House for African American Men
Living Learning Community Grant
Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence
Office for Equity and Diversity
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Religious Studies Program
University Libraries