Recently released exclusively on Hulu, the movie Prey is the first ever to be released in full Comanche. The film features various connections and references to Native American culture, tradition, and history.
Making Sure the Comanche People are Accurately Represented
Dan Trachtenberg directed Prey, and in order to better understand Comanche culture and accurately portray the tribe in the movie, he sought out assistance.
That said, Trachtenberg partnered with Jhane Meyers, an acclaimed filmmaker, to best capture the Comanche tribe’s culture on screen. “The film was an idea I had, so I reached out to the Comanche Nation to ensure authenticity,” Trachtenberg recalls.
Further, although Prey is very much a sci-fi film, it’s still true to the original Comanche location, language, and regalia. To Trachtenberg and the rest of the team, ensuring everything connected to the Comanche people in the film was accurate was an absolute necessity.
Naturally, the film is composed of several Native American and First Nation actors, a rarity in the movie industry.
Jhane Meyers Brings Indigenous Culture to Film
As previously mentioned, filmmaker Jhane Meyers played a critical role in ensuring Comanche Nation was accurately portrayed in Prey. As a member of the Comanche Nation herself, Meyers prides herself in bringing her heritage into her work.
For example, one aspect Meyers is well-known for is her commitment to making films surrounding the Comanche and Blackfeet Nations. Additionally, Meyers is passionate about promoting Native actors, culture, and history in the visual arts because it is a rarity in the film industry.
One detail Meyers is most honored by is the fact that Prey was released in full Comanche. “This film will be released in full Comanche language with screenings on their lands. That’s the first time that has ever been done,” Meyers explains.
Why Comanche Nation was Selected for ‘Prey’
Two of the biggest reasons the Comanche Nation was selected to be represented in the movie Prey were the tribe’s history and location.
Historically, Comanche Nation is from the southern Plains, the landscape portrayed in the movie.
Further, Comanche tribe members were a nomadic group and, therefore, particularly skilled hunters. This skill is one of the primary focuses in Prey, accentuating even more accuracy.
As far as the tribe’s linguistics, the Comanche language is of Aztec descent and was originally a Shoshoni dialect. Although most people aren’t able to understand the words and phrases when characters are speaking Comanche in Prey, it doesn’t take away from how powerful it is to experience authentic Native American culture.
History of the Comanche People in the United States
Today, Comanche Nation is a federally recognized tribe with about 17,000 citizens headquartered in Lawton, Oklahoma.
However, in the 18th and 19th centuries, this group lived throughout North America in the present-day areas of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and Chihuahua, Mexico.
To survive, the Comanche people were a nomadic horse culture, traveling to primarily hunt bison (both elements are referenced in Prey). But, when white settlers moved in on their territory, the Comanche people evoked war and frequently raided European settlements.
Despite their efforts, European diseases and continual war caused most Comanche people to live on reservations by the 1860s and 70s.
The Plot of ‘Prey’ and its Effects on Indigenous People
Prey is considered the fifth installment of the Predator franchise and is structured to serve as a prequel for the first 4 films.
In the movie, the protagonist Naru, a highly skilled warrior, sees a sign in the clouds that tells her she is ready to hunt larger game. However, as she surveys the land, she discovers a much more dangerous threat, which she refers to as a Yautja (meaning “Predator”). In order to protect her people from this monster, Naru must learn its behavior, tendencies, and weaknesses to kill it effectively.
Prey is a film doing extraordinary things for Native American tribes and communities everywhere. By portraying more Indigenous actors in a highly-anticipated movie like Prey, Native Americans everywhere feel more accurately represented.
Also, the movie is the first to be released in full Comanche language, showing progressive steps towards more accurate portrayals of Native American history and culture.