Imaging Indians

Having visited tribal communities in Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Washington and the Amazon to produce this film, director Victor Masayesva says, “Coming from a village which became embroiled in the filming of Darkwind, a Hollywood production on the Hopi Reservation, I felt a keen responsibility as a community member, not an individual, to address these impositions on our tribal lives. Even as our communities say no, outsiders are responding to this as a challenge instead of respecting our feelings….I have come to believe that the sacred aspects of our existence which encourages the continuity and vitality of Native peoples are being manipulated by an aesthetic in which money is the most important qualification. This contradicts the values intrinsic to what’s sacred and may destroy our substance. I am concerned about a tribal and community future which is reflected in my film and I hope this challenges the viewer to overcome glamorized Hollywood views of the Native American, which obscures the difficult demands of walking the spiritual road of our ancestors.”

Region of Origin

Year of Release



57 minutes


16mm, Color


Victor Masayesva

Victor Masayesva Jr. is a widely recognized Hopi Independent producer and director who has been at the forefront of experimental filmmaking in the Native American film and video community. Besides his commitment to producing innovative films and videos he has been a prominent advocate for films by indigenous peoples from the international community, for the purpose of encouraging acceptance of an indigenous aesthetic. Raised in the conservative Hopi village of Hotevilla, which to this day refuses electric lines into the village, during a time when there was little contact with the Whiteman other than the government school teachers, the Hopi culture has continued to shape his views.