ACT Film Festival to educate on Native American culture

Graham Shapley

Indigenous people have traditionally had their cultures stolen, not only by the countries that have forced them off of their land, but by different forms of cheap Halloween costumes and football mascots. 

The main way to reflect on these wrongs is to give Native Americans a voice to let them explain their own cultures, rather than defining them from the outside. One of the most powerful ways to do this is through art.


The ACT Human Rights Film Festival is presenting an opportunity for Fort Collins residents to expand their cultural understanding by putting on a series of six short films, all produced by Indigenous filmmakers from around the world. 

The short films will be shown at 6:30 P.M. on Dec. 5 at The Lyric Cinema.” 

The screening will be accompanied by a conversation with Colorado State University’s Native American Cultural Center and ethnic studies assistant professor Lindsey Schneider regarding the representation of Indigenous people, as well as drawing attention to local Indigenous projects and groups.

November was Native American Heritage Month, and although these films come from around the world, many of them are made by Indigenous people from North America, including the United States and Canada.

Many of the films explore themes of heritage, both familial and cultural. “Jáaji Approx.” by Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga Band of Luiseño) explores these concepts through Native languages.My Father’s Tools” by Heather Condo (Mi’gmaq) explores the work of a man who creates baskets in the same style and manner of his father as a way of honoring him.

In 2019, CSU began to regularly use a land acknowledgement that takes place before events, recognizing the history of the land and the people who once lived here. This is part of a cultural push to commemorate the history and hardships Indigenous people face and have faced.

These short films have previously been recognized at the Sundance Film Festival. They were selected by the Sundance Institute Indigenous Program in conjunction with Art House Convergence.

All of the films are between four and 11 minutes and will be shown at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 at The Lyric Cinema

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. 

Graham Shapley can be reached at and on Twitter @shapleygraham.