Print

Centering Indigenous speculative fiction on film, this webpage celebrates the work of Indigenous filmmakers and theorists who focus on temporality and the future in their practice.

The featured artists explore alternate worlds, speculative futures, Indigenous sciences and non-linear temporalities in ways that reflect on themes of colonization, survivance and ecological sustainability. They refute discourses that weld indigeneity to an a-historicised past and assert a thriving Indigenous life in the present and future. This work deploys futurism to question the notion of a single linear temporality that subsumes all others and fashion strategies of hope and possibilities in the present.

Featuring Grace Dillon, Nanobah Becker and Kristian Mercado.

Featured short films:

THE 6TH WORLD

by Nanobah Becker
2012 | 15min
Astronaut Tazbah Redhouse is on the first spaceship sent to colonize Mars. But a dream before her departure indicates there's more to her mission.



NUEVO RICO

by Kristian Mercado
2020 | 16min | USA, Puerto Rico
In a dystopian future, siblings Barbie and Vico accidentally find themselves in a position where they could get the key to what appears to be a brighter and safer future. Unfortunately, nothing comes without a price.



Nanobah Becker and Kristian Mercado will be in conversation with prof. Grace Dillon to discuss their films and Indigenous Futurisms on Tuesday 7 June 6-7:30PM BST on Zoom. Sign up here.

Grace L. Dillon is professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program, in the School of Gender, Race, and Nations, at Portland State University and author of Walking the Clouds, an anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction.
Nanobah Becker (Diné) is an award-winning writer/director whose short films FLAT, CONVERSION, and THE 6th WORLD and video collaborations I LOST MY SHADOW and MY SOUL REMAINER have screened at festivals in the U.S. and internationally including the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and have been acquired by institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Art. Her newest short film, LANDBACK, WATERBACK, will premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in July 2022. Nanobah is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and was a dialogue director on the Navajo language dub of FINDING NEMO (NEMO HÁDÉÉST’Į́Į́). She has also produced films for fellow indigenous filmmakers such as Blackhorse Lowe’s SHIMASÁNÍ and currently calls Tovaangar (Los Angeles) home.
Kristian Mercado Figueroa is an award winning Puerto Rican filmmaker living in Spanish Harlem. Mercado’s distinct voice addresses issues of identity, family, and systemic oppression across race and class. His work is celebrated for its portrayal of working class struggles, highlighting love and loss. He is the director of Nuevo Rico.

 

Further resources

This section lists films available online, books, articles, projects and podcasts that provide further context to the theme of Indigenous futurisms. The list is meant to provide a suggested entry point into the genre. It is not meant to be exhaustive and we encourage visitors to use it as a springboard for further research.

 

Watch

She Falls for Ages
by Skawennati
2016 | 21 min
This sci-fi retelling of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) creation story reimagines Sky World as a futuristic, utopic space and Sky Woman as a brave astronaut and world-builder. Using the new media technique known as machinima, She Falls For Ages boldly mixes Haudenosaunee storytelling with science fiction to connect the deep past and the far future.
http://www.skawennati.com/SheFallsForAges/index.html

TimetravellerTM, Immerse Yourself in History
by Skawennati
2021 | 9 episodes 3-12 min each
Travelling through time these days is easy thanks to TimeTraveller™.
Observe famous historical events and interact with the people who made them happen! Ideal for students, architects, artists, and anyone else who wants to experience history as it really was!
https://www.timetravellertm.com/

Wakening
by Danis Goulet
2013 | 9 min
In the near future, the environment has been destroyed and society suffocates under a brutal military occupation. A lone Cree wanderer Weesakechak searches an urban war zone to find the ancient and dangerous Weetigo to help fight against the occupiers.



The Visit
By Lisa Jackson
2009 | 3 min
The Visit tells the true story of a Cree family's strange encounter one winter night, which results in a conversation beyond words.
http://www.isuma.tv/hai/the-national-film-board-of-canada/vistas-the-visit

ʔEʔanx (The Cave)
by Helen Haig-Brown
2009 |11 min
A bear hunter on horseback accidentally discovers a portal to another world. A fantastical true Tsilhqot’in story.




Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes)
By Amanda Strong (Métis/Cree)
2018 |19 min
The film centers on Biidaaban, a young shapeshifter on a secret mission to revive the traditional First Nations ritual of harvesting sap from maple trees to make maple sugar, despite living in a contemporary urban area.



Four Faces of the Moon
By Amanda Strong (Métis/Cree)
2016 |13 min
Fawn, a photographer, travels through time and meets her Michif, Cree and Anishinaabe ancestors. She is a witness to the many atrocities committed by the settler as she weaves through time and learns who she is.



Read

Grace Dillon (2012) Walking the Clouds. An anthropology of indigenous science fiction. University of Arizona Press.

William Lempert (2015) Navajos on Mars. https://medium.com/space-anthropology/navajos-on-mars-4c336175d945

William Lempert (2014) Decolonizing Encounters of the Third Kind. Vis Anthropol Rev, 30: 164-176. https://doi.org/10.1111/var.12046

McEnaney, L. (2020), Indigenous Futurisms: Transcending Past/Present/Future. Vis Anthropol Rev, 36: 417-424. https://doi.org/10.1111/var.12212

Gerald Vizenor ed. (2008) Survivance. Narratives of Native Presence. University of Nebraska Press

 

Projects

Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace
an Aboriginally determined research-creation network whose goal is to ensure Indigenous presence in the web pages, online environments, video games, and virtual worlds that comprise cyberspace. Co-founded and co-directed by Jason Edward Lewis and Skawennati https://abtec.org/

The Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF)
a partnership of universities and community organizations dedicated to developing multiple visions of Indigenous peoples tomorrow in order to better understand where we need to go today.
https://indigenousfutures.net/

The Indigenous Futures Storytelling Project
Indigenous people lead and thrive across the United States. IllumiNative and Indigenous Photograph are celebrating the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples by providing a platform to share the work of Indigenous creatives.This virtual exhibition centers Indigenous voices in conversations about our communities.
https://indigenousfutures.illuminatives.org/

Indigenous matriarch 4 Media Lab
The IM4 VR/AR Lab is Dedicated to Indigenizing VR/AR/360 and was created by Indigenous filmmaker, Loretta Todd, alongside media matriarchs Doreen Manuel, Cease Wyss, and Tracey Kim Bonneau.
https://im4lab.com/

 

Listen

Immersive Knowledge Transfer Podcast
created by Indigenous matriarch 4 Media Lab, dedicated to Indigenizing VR/AR/360
https://im4lab.com/podcast/

Futurisms: Danis Goulet
A conversation with Danis Goulet at ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2021 https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=330921891698714