By Brian Hallenbeck
"Naturally Native," shot in the Los Angeles area in 1997, depicts the lives and relationships of three sisters of Native American ancestry as they attempt to start a business. As young children, the sisters were adopted by white foster parents.
Considered groundbreaking, "Naturally Native," is the first film about Native American women written, directed, produced and starring Native American women, according to the film's website. It premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.
Cherokee filmmaker Valerie Red-Horse, who served as the film's producer, writer, co-director and lead actress, sought the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council's support of the project, promising a film that would convey the struggles many Native Americans face. The script parallels much of what the Connecticut tribe has experienced, which is why the tribal council agreed to provide funding, according to a tribal spokeswoman.
The entire cost of production was under $1 million, the spokeswoman said.
For more on the subject, see Native Films on Turner Classic Movies and The Best Indian Movies.