Category: Events, Institute, Staff

Date: February 08, 2024

Engaging Through Film: Native American Social Work Studies Institute’s Movie Nights

The Native American Social Work Studies Institute (NASWSI) is taking a creative and impactful approach to engage social work students with Native American and Indigenous issues. The Institute aims to foster a deeper understanding and spark meaningful discussions among students by organizing two movie night events. These events are not just about watching films; they are about creating a space for reflection, learning, and conversation on critical topics that affect Indigenous communities.

Event Details and Logistics

The first event is a “Wind River” screening scheduled for Wednesday, March 20th, at 6 PM at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Wells Fargo Auditorium, at 1701 4th Street SW Albuquerque. The second event features the documentary “Young Lakota,” set for Tuesday, March 19th, at the same venue and time. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP by March 15th, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. to the provided email address, including their name and NMHU ID number in the RSVP email.

Movie Summaries and Themes

“Wind River” is a gripping crime drama that unfolds in the remote wilderness of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. It tells the story of Cory Lambert, a wildlife officer, who teams up with an FBI agent to solve the murder of a young Indigenous woman. The film delves into the tragic reality of violence against Indigenous women, a topic that resonates with the current crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and people.

“Young Lakota” is a compelling documentary that provides an intimate look into the lives of young Lakota activists on the Pine Ridge Reservation. They grapple with issues surrounding women’s reproductive health and tribal politics. The film highlights the fight for reproductive rights and the impact of political decisions on Indigenous communities, particularly in the context of South Dakota’s laws criminalizing abortion.

Impact on Social Work Education

These movie nights are more than entertainment; they serve as film-based interventions that can be educational tools for social work students. By engaging with these films, students can gain insights into the complexities of life on reservations, the challenges faced by Indigenous communities, and the intersection of social work with Native American issues. The post-movie discussions are designed to encourage students to bring their opinions and insights to the table, fostering a meaningful conversation about the films and the broader social issues they address.

The Native American Social Work Studies Institute’s initiative to use film to educate and engage students is a testament to the power of storytelling in social work education. By connecting students with these stories, the Institute hopes to inspire a new generation of social workers who are informed, empathetic, and equipped to work effectively with Native American and Indigenous populations.



Dr. Riley is an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe of New Mexico. She has worked in the field of social work for over 23 years and is currently the Director of the Native American Social Work Studies Institute. Her passion is working with people and teaching and learning new things.


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