Since its launch by presidential proclamation in 1990, Native American Heritage Month has been an opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultures, histories and traditions of North America’s Indigenous peoples and to recognize their vital contributions to the United States and beyond. .

The newsroom reached out to staff members across campus to get their recommendations on what to read, listen to and watch to help mark the month. Their choices – from poems and novels to TV shows, films and podcasts – paint a broad picture of the Indigenous experience that not only touches on the long and brutal legacy of racist government policies and genocide, but also bears witness to the perseverance, dynamism and creative continuity of Aboriginal communities and artists.

Such a list could never be complete, but we hope it will serve as an introduction and a starting point for new discoveries.


Libby O’Kane, Events and Visitor Services Manager, Fowler Museum at UCLA

  • Look: “Rutherford Falls” is a smart and fun TV show that uses comedy to address important issues regarding cultural heritage ownership between history museums and Native Americans.

Eric Greene, Associate Director for Campus Diversity and Climate, Strategic Communications:

  • Look: “Reservation Dogs,” a fictional television series that follows four Oklahoma Native teens, is now in its second season. Tazbah Rose Chavez, who wrote, directed and produced episodes of the series, and who also served as writer, director and editor of “Rutherford Falls”, holds a degree in Native American Studies from UCLA!

Sandra Shagat, Director, Development Marketing

Mike Dirda, Director of Executive and Internal Communications, Strategic Communications:

  • Lily: “There There” by Tommy Orange is a beautifully written book that uses a range of different techniques and narrative styles to explore Native American experiences and stories, delve into questions of identity, and examine some of the modern struggles of Indigenous peoples. .

Jessica Wolf, Senior Media Relations Representative, Strategic Communications:

  • Lily: “The Grass Dancer” is a powerful work of magical realism by Susan Power set on a reservation in North Dakota and told from multiple angles and across generations. In “The Trickster Trilogy,” Eden Robinson, an Indigenous author from British Columbia, tells a delightfully chilling and slightly heartbreaking story about a teenager with a difficult family life who comes to terms with the supernatural in and around him.

    “How a Mountain Was Made: Stories” by UCLA alumnus and former English teacher Greg Sarris invites the reader to imagine the creation of the world through the creation stories of the traditional Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo peoples, residents of the Sonoma Mountain area. “They’re fun, they’re easy to read, but they have morals and ethics about how to live in this world, which our stories have always done,” Sarris told UCLA Newsroom. “Our stories remind us to live, if I may say so, responsibly on the Earth.”


  • Look: “Water flows together.” This powerful and thoughtful documentary follows Colleen Cooley, a San Juan River guide, through the traditional lands of the Diné, Hopi, Ute and Zuni peoples. It inspires important reflections: Where does your water come from? Do you realize how many people have trouble accessing it? What will you do to help preserve and protect this resource without which no living creature or planet can survive?

Dennis Pacheco, Senior Director of Diversity Programs and Initiatives, Alumni Affairs

Filmmaker and Multimedia Artist Pamela J. Peters, Operations and Events Coordinator, UCLA American Indian Studies Center:

  • Listen: “Native America Calling” is a live radio show and podcast featuring thought-provoking conversations on issues important to Native communities. “The Cuts With Sterlin Harjo” is a podcast in which award-winning filmmaker Harjo, executive producer, director and co-writer of “Reservation Dogs”, interviews friends and fellow artists and spotlights Indigenous artists. And the “Well for Culture” podcast focuses on food, health and mental well-being as part of a larger initiative to reclaim and revitalize Indigenous health and well-being.

Sebastian Hernandez, Director, UCLA Broadcast Studio

  • Look: “Other Mexicans” Native Zapotecs and Mixtecs of Oaxaca, Mexico are often lumped together with other Mexicans when they arrive in the United States, resulting in the erasure of native Mexicans in the census and in the understanding public. Complex and divergent cultural histories and practices are reduced to a single national label. This documentary is a beautiful representation of several indigenous groups, their way of speaking, caring, making art and celebrating. It’s unlikely you’ve seen a depiction of indigenous people like this.

Shantel Broadhead, writer and editor, Stategic Communications

Todd Schindler, Editor, UCLA Newsroom

  • Look: “Rumble: The Indians who Rocked the World” shines a light on the fundamental and often overlooked contributions of Native musicians to blues, rock, jazz, soul and almost every other form of American music. And the documentary “Mankiller” tells the fascinating story of Wilma Mankiller, the first female senior chief of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.
  • Listen: John Trudell was a poet, author, actor, activist and longtime president of the American Indian Movement. He was also a spoken word artist and musician. His 1999 album “Blue Indians” has always been one of my favorites.