In TV Shows Featuring Indians, I list the series that have had significant Native characters. But what about series that starred Native characters? That is, where the Native characters were first-billed, as the lead.
While Canada has broadcast several series starring Natives, here's a rundown of TV's pathetically poor record in the US:
Three live-action shows, none of which featured full-fledged Native actors:
(Broken Arrow starred John Lupton as Tom Jeffords and Michael Ansara as Cochise. I haven't seen the TV show, but it sounds as though Jeffords and Cochise were considered co-leads.)
Five cartoons, two of which feature animals as Indians, and none of them voiced by Native actors:
The Adventures of Pow Wow, the Indian Boy
The Go-Go Gophers
The Paw Paws
The Emperor's New School
Incredibly, we'd have to give the prize to The Emperor's New School for the most Native characters in an American network series. Unfortunately, they're only pseudo-Natives, with no real Native characteristics.
After thousands of TV shows over 60 years, we've never had an American network series whose main character was a Native played or voiced by a Native actor. What a sad testimony to Hollywood's racial blinders.
Note: Obviously the US networks have aired made-for-TV movies and documentaries starring Natives. And at least one mini-series, if you count Dreamkeeper or the Hillerman mystery movies. But I'm talking about regular weekly series here, not one-time specials.