International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Celebrating the rights of the world's Indigenous peoples and their struggles, achievements, and contributions to our world and our Earth.


International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
Credit: Onu Brasil [Public Domain] via Wikimedia


Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of a place. Indigenous peoples are also called First Nations peopleaboriginal people or Native peoples, such as "Native Americans."

Films about Indigenous Peoples

The Future Innu

By: Wapikoni Mobile
An ode to the land in relation to my double identity as an urban Indigenous person. A story that is both personal and poetic.

These heroes tell their stories about their fight for justice and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Looking After Our Spirit

Mark Pearce featuring Dr. Anne Poelina
Dr. Anne Poelina speaks out about the social, human, cultural and environmental values that has built the community spirit of Broome.

Protecting the Amazon by Advancing Indigenous Rights


Since 1996, Amazon Watch has partnered with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.

Smoke That Travels [Trailer]

Producer: Kayla Briët

"What happens when a story is forgotten? I'm making a film about my dad, Gary Wiski-ge-amatyuk, my family, and what it means to be Native American today."

Mother of All Rivers

Producer: Will Parrinello

Berta Cáceres rallied her indigenous Lenca people to wage a grassroots protest that successfully pressured the government of Honduras and the world's largest dam builder to withdraw from building the Agua Zarca Dam.

Watch this excerpt by student filmmaker Camille Manybeads TSO, proud to walk in the footsteps of her ancestors.

Yellow Woman - A Hero Report Excerpt

Produced by:Betty Bailey & Camille Manybeads Tso
Camille Manybeads Tso tells an inspiring true story of Native American Heritage.

Art about Indigenous Heroes

Historically, Indigenous art has been centered around storytelling. Land, events, people, and beliefs are central themes. These themes are culturally significant because they educate people about community and nature.

Ben Milch artwork about a mother and her baby
Credit: Ben Milch

In the coming-of-age Hamatsa ceremony, a boy on the verge of manhood is "kidnapped" and becomes wild and uncontrollable, and then the community brings the boy back to "humanity." In our modern urban reality, this concept is still very important for our youth.

Indigenous Peoples
Credit: Joel Bergner

Indigenous People of the Earth
Credit: Joanne Tawfilis
Credit: Kay Smith, Artist Laureate of Illinois

Stories about Indigenous Heroes

Reading about important Indigenous peoples brings the significance of their work into everyday consciousness, whether they fight for themselves, their land, or their right to participate freely in society.

Berta Cáceres

By: Rachel Parsons

Berta Cáceres was a native Lenca environmental and human rights advocate. The Lenca are indigenous to parts of Honduras and El Salvador and have inhabited the region for thousands of years. 

Frances Manuel, Native American Woman Hero

By: Deborah Neff
Frances Manuel, who was born in the early part of the 20th century, quietly changed the world of her people and the people she met through her basket weaving and cultural presentations.

Chief Wilma Mankiller

By: Susannah Abbey
Chief Wilma Mankiller was the first woman to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Rigoberta Menchu Tum

By: Lydia Ratna

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, became involved with various groups in their struggle for the indigenous people out of personal conviction and sense of justice. [This story is also available in Spanish.]

Cathy Freeman

By: Alex from Forster, New South Wales, Australia

Cathy Freeman is a former Olympic sprinter and the first Australian indigenous person to become a gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games.


By: Wendy Jewell
Nyla Innuksuk is an exciting young indigenous filmmaker who is pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, going beyond 2 D (flattie) films to VR/AR and 360 with her Mixtape VR company. Check out her journey to date.

Listen & Read Along

Great for ESL students and the visually impaired! Listen and Read Along Stories.

Listen and Read Along icon

Chief Oren Lyons

By: Aibanrihun Lyngdoh
Chief Oren Lyons is an internationally venerated advocate for preserving biodiversity.

Read about filmmaker Will Parrinello's work with Goldman Prize award-winning environmental activists in the Amazon. 

Mill Valley Film Group short films | Goldman Environmental Prize Winners

By: Deborah
Will Parinello of the Mill Valley Film Group has submitted these short films about Goldman Environmental Prize winners to The MY HERO International Film Festival over many years.

Will Parrinello Wins 2021 Best in Fest

By: Deborah Neff, MY HERO Staff writer

Behind the scenes with filmmaker Will Parrinello among the Cofán

By: Deborah Neff, MY HERO Staff writer
In May 2022, two young indigenous Cofán activists from Ecuador were awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. Will Parrinello went to Ecuador to film them.

Check out more resources listed by region

International Day of the World's Indigenous People

By: Becky Miller
This day is celebrated on August 9The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World's Indigenous People is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.


Official UN Website

UN International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Our Curators


Short films curated by MY HERO International Film Festival director Wendy Milette


Hero Stories curated by MY HERO General Editors Deborah Neff and Abigail Richardson.

Organizer created on 10/9/2017 10:56:10 AM by MY HERO Staff

Last edited 7/12/2023 2:22:07 PM by Abigail Richardson