For Indigenous Peoples’ Day, use these two films to combat dehumanizing stereotypes

On Monday, 14 states and nearly 150 towns and cities across the country will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and not Columbus Day, setting the stage for National Native American Heritage Month in November.

If you’re an educator or community organizer looking to counter dehumanizing stereotypes of Indigenous peoples, we encourage you to screen the powerful, deeply personal documentary More Than a Word and also share this short clip from our brand-new release Behind the Shield: The Power and Politics of the NFL.

More Than a Word, from filmmakers John and Kenn Little of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, tells the story of the Native American-led struggle to eliminate indigenous team names and mascots from U.S. sports culture. Along the way, the film explores the injustices done to indigenous peoples, the inequalities that continue to plague Native American communities, and the cultural stereotypes that have helped to normalize both.

In this excerpt from our new film Behind the Shield, acclaimed Nation magazine sports editor Dave Zirin looks back at the history of the Washington football team as the NFL’s last all-white team, drawing explicit connections between the league’s decades-long appropriation of Native American culture, its overwhelmingly white ownership structure, and larger currents of systemic racism within the league and U.S. society.

The full version of Behind the Shield, which takes a sweeping look at how the nation’s most popular and influential sports league has helped shape dominant political ideas and public attitudes about manhood, militarism, nationalism, and race, is streaming free now through Oct. 15.