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Beyond the Headdress: Addressing Misrepresentation in the Native American Community

Osiyo Vocies of the Cheroke People

Kaila WardKaila Ward
February 07, 2019

The Cherokee Nation Film Office is the latest attempt to fight back against misrepresentation in Native communities. The Cherokee Nation Film Office is in the middle of production of their fourth season of an Emmy Award-winning TV program called, "Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People." The series features stories of Cherokee people and is made entirely by Cherokee Nation members. Building off of their success with the TV program, the Cherokee Nation Film Office is currently in production of their first feature-length documentary. The Cherokee Nation Film Office is already collaborating with the other film offices in Oklahoma in hopes to grow the success of their own office and to tell Native stories through Native voices.

The development of the Cherokee Nation Film Office is the first step in debunking the stereotypes often associated with Indigenous communities. Film, music, TV, and several other media platforms perpetuate the misrepresentation of Native Americans every day. By having organizations like the Cherokee Nation Film Office, who are reclaiming their stories and identities through film, people are becoming more informed of the heritage and diversity of Native people. At UNC, Native American Student Services strives to foster a campus community that respects and honors the diversity of tribal nations. To respect and honor Native Americans, we must first move beyond the headdress stereotypes and listen to the stories being told about Native people by Native people.