To commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Netflix released the 20-episode animated series “Spirit Rangers.” The new show offers more Indigenous representation on one of the leading TV and movie-streaming platforms.
A Historic Release
The release of “Spirit Rangers” is a historical event. That said, it is the first kid’s show in the United States to be created by a Native American woman.
“Spirit Rangers” is one of the earliest on-screen representations of Indigenous people and characters available to kids. Another show doing so is “Molly of Denali,” a PBS Kids series released in 2019.
Created by a Team of All-Native Individuals
The show’s creator, Karissa Valencia, was very intentional about creating a team of all Native individuals. As a Chumash citizen, Valencia feels “particularly proud of our all-Native writing staff.”
Additionally, Valencia attests that ensuring her team was entirely Indigenous “was something I told Netflix I really wanted when I pitched the show.”
Regarding the voice actors starring in “Spirit Rangers,” the list contains a lot of well-known individuals. Devery Jacobs, who stars in the award-winning show “Reservation Dogs,” voice acts for the character Wind Eagle.
Additionally, Brooke Simpson stars as Spider. Simpson is an up-and-coming Native singer who gained recognition during her appearance on “The Voice.”
Displaying the Diversity in Native American Tribes
One detail Valencia and her team focused heavily on was incorporating diversity within the Indigenous characters. That said, the main characters have different skin tones, hair colors, and eye colors.
Further, “Spirit Rangers” shows an inter-tribal family from the Chumash and Cowlitz tribes. “When I wanted to make the family multi-tribal, I obviously went to my tribe to ask for their permission,” Valencia points out.
Naturally, the team did the same before incorporating the Cowlitz tribe. One of the writers for “Spirit Rangers,” Joey Clift, belongs to the Cowlitz tribe and asked for permission from his tribe’s elders.
“We’re incredibly proud to see the Cowlitz Indian Tribe depicted on the Netflix platform, and commend the ‘Spirit Rangers’ team for their inclusive and culturally appropriate approach to producing the show,” Patty Kinswa-Gaiser says, the General Council Chairwoman of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.
Plot of “Spirit Rangers”
“Spirit Rangers” is a story that follows a modern Native American family who works and lives at a National Park.
The three main characters, Kodi, Summer, and Eddy Skycedar, are kids with secret special powers. With that, the kids can transform into animals in order to protect their homes.
Throughout the series, the children take on a series of challenges and adventures while tying in Native traditions and values. Overall, “Spirit Rangers” is a progressive step in offering more Indigenous perspectives and representation on a popular streaming outlet.
When Native Americans have the chance to see themselves accurately portrayed in the media, they can feel more connected to their traditions, values, and culture.