First of Its Kind Film Captures Stories of American Indian Relocation to Los Angeles


Awarding-winning filmmaker explores the lives of young American Indians living in Los Angeles today

LOS ANGELES —Pamela J. Peters is an award-winning Navajo filmmaker who blends an Indigenous aesthetic with a focus on contemporary, realistic, culture-driven stories in her films.

Peters’ “Exiled NDNZ” documentary film project is an expansion of her short film, “Legacy of Exiled NDNZ,” a nonfiction story told through the voices of young adults who have either migrated from their respective reservations, or who continue to survive as offspring of families who relocated to citiLOS ANGELESes under the Indian Relocation Program enacted by the US Government in 1956. Peters’ short film premiered at the LA Shorts Fest in July 2014.

Peters’ short project was influenced by Kent Mackenzie’s film, “The Exiles” (1961), which follows Native Americans living on Bunker Hill in the early 1960s.

“It was the only film that documented realistic lives of the American Indians going through the U.S. government Relocation Program,” comments Peters.

“I have done a lot of research about the depiction of American Indians been portrayed by Hollywood. How we talk—the tom-tom drum, the whole structure was created by Hollywood,” Peters told Native News Online on Wednesday afternoon.

“Our film will help viewers better understand the history of American Indian migration to Los Angeles, as American Indians are also part of the history of Los Angeles,” states Peters.

The filmmaker is seeking $15,000 to expand her short film into a full documentary to delve deeper into the lives of her participants and to share the dual lives of the participants as both urban Indians and as exiles holding onto the connections they have with their tribal communities. The film will also depict the diversity of five different tribal communities, U.S. policies with respect to American Indians, and tribal traditions. The  crowd-funding campaign can be found at

Exiled NDNZ 12407613-3-legacy-of-exiled-ndnzThe objective of this film project is to build a movement that represents, promotes, and distributes a more accurate view of American Indian history, one that goes beyond this film and beyond old-fashioned stereotypes that persist to this day. Peters explains, “From my project, I hope to dispel the fantasy of the dying Indian and other stereotypes that pervade contemporary media.”

Donations made through the crowd-funding campaign will cover the cost of traveling to five different tribal reservations in 2015 along with equipment rentals, insurance, permits and cost for crew assistance. More information can also be found at

Photos Courtesy: Pamela J. Peters Exiled NDNZ series © 2014

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