Expanding Access to Native American Film & Video of the Western Hemisphere


The NMAI Film & Video Center [F&VC] contemporary Study Collection is one of the most important and comprehensive collections of Native-produced media in the world. Works include significant media produced since the 1970s, when Native filmmakers first began creating films and videos in the United States, as well as independent documentaries and works for broadcast by non-Native filmmakers. Many works in the collection -- especially those produced by Native Americans during the past 10 years -- are works of creative expression, including features, short subjects, comedies, animations, youth productions, videos and other highly diverse works of both fiction and non-fiction from throughout the Americas. A significant number are in Spanish or Indigenous languages such as Hata Kui, Yup'ik, Tzotzil aand Quechua (with English or Spanish subtitles). The Study Collection also includes a significant number of unique video and audio recordings made by the F&VC staff, primarily since 1990. These include interviews with indigenous filmmakers from throughout the Western Hemisphere and documentation of discussions with filmmakers during NMAI programs (such as the NMAI Native American Film & Video Festival, the longest-running indigenous film festival in the world). This material represents footage that is not available through any other means, where NMAI holds the only available copy.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



National Museum of the American Indian


  • Lucia DeRespinis

Collection Size

2000 objects

Date Range

1970 - 2011

Geographic Scope

Materials are from Native communities and Native media-makers throughout the Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to the tip of Chile.