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Pamela J. Peters | “Real NDNZ ‘Re-take’ Hollywood”

For so long, the history of Indians in film has been seen with a one-dimensional lens, one that has created damaging and negative stereotypes still haunting us today. Native actors also have a long history of regularly being scrubbed out of roles and replaced with painted ‘red-face’ white actors, and in some cases are not even considered for roles because they don’t follow the fantasy attributes Hollywood has been so accustomed to – the dark skin and black long hair.

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Pictured from left to right: Kholan Studi, JaNae Collins, Deja Jones

Knowing the long history of Natives in film and television and the social impact it creates is something I want to affect directly. I decided to focus on producing positive narrative portrayals of American Indians as real people engaged in real life. I made the conscious decision to change the lens on how we see “Indians”. I also want to produce films that challenge the predominant narrative in older and contemporary media of American Indians as relics of an historical past, and instead show us as people with feelings, contending with complex situations (not as obstacles), and giving us a full dimensional voice.

— Pamela J. Peters

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Pictured from left to right: Krista Hazelwood, Shayna Jackson, Noah Watts


Pamela J. Peters is a Diné multimedia documentarian from the Navajo Reservation where she was born and raised. Her first clan is Tachii’nii (Red Running into the Water clan), which she uses to identify her photography. Pamela’s work captures not only still images documenting people, cultures, and environments; she also incorporates storytelling with video digital capturing that is completed with a unique and distinctive creative style. Her creative lens explores the history and identity of her participants, which she calls Indigenous Realism, which often places a nostalgic aesthetic in her photographic images. She incorporates black and white photography to express her photography series: Legacy of Exiled NDNZ that explores the 1950s Indian Relocation program; and Real NDNZ Re-Take Hollywood, that evocates studio-style portraits of Hollywood glamour of the 1940s and 1950s.

Her photography has been featured at the Los Angeles Center of Photography, Arts District Los Angeles Photo Collective, These Days Gallery, Venice Arts Gallery, The Main Museum, Triton Contemporary Museum, Glendale ReflectSpace Gallery, and featured in the Los Angeles Times, Reuters News, Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Native Max Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Indian Country Today and American Indian Quarterly Journal.

Learn more about Pamela’s work here.

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