Tackling colonialism, wars, gender-based violence and so much more, these films share real-life stories of oppression, resistance and survival.
1. Chiapas: The Fight for Land and Liberty
The 1994 film “Chiapas: The Fight for Land and Liberty” offers a glimpse into the early months of the Zapatista uprising, showing the women and men from the Chiapas region of southern Mexico who risk their lives to defend their land. Through personal narratives, the film illustrates why these Indigenous people are fighting for themselves and their children.
2. The Sixth Sun: Mayan Uprising in Chiapas
For more on the Zapatistas, watch the 1995 film "The Sixth Sun: Mayan Uprising in Chiapas," where viewers get an unsensationalized view of who the Zapatistas are, what they're fighting for and the many ways U.S. corporations, The North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization are behind the violence that started the uprising.
3. Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee
“Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee” is based on the true story of Mary Crow Dog, a Lakota girl who wants to assimilate into dominant U.S. culture until she learns of the injustices that society has and continues to inflict on her people, moving her to protest.
5. When the Mountains Tremble
This 1983 documentary looks at the war between the Guatemalan Military and the Mayan Indigenous population in the country, centering on the experiences of Rigoberta Menchú, a Quiché Indigenous woman who is now a Nobel Prize Winner.
7. Rabbit-Proof Fence
This 2002 film tells the story of three aboriginal girls in 1931 Western Australia who were taken a thousand miles away from their homes to be indentured servants. The girls escape and embark on a journey home.
8. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is a 2007 film adapted from a book of the same name that shares the history and endeavors Native Americans of the U.S.' West, who in the 1860s and 1870s were forced to move from their traditional ways to living on reservations.
10. Seed Spirits
“Seed Spirits” portrays the lives of Otomí (Hnahnu, Indigenous peoples of Mexico) in different regions. An impoverished and marginalized people, women and children live on their traditional lands in the central altiplano of Mexico, while many of the men have migrated to cities, including Durham, North Carolina.