AMC’s hit “Dark Winds” is one of the first dramatic television shows written, directed and acted by Native Americans. Blackfeet descendant Maya Rose Dittloff (ǔkkayǔ”kwīyinnimǎakii/Many Pipes Woman) served in the writer’s room for the show and is credited with writing two of the six episodes for the limited original adaptation of the Tony Hillerman novels following Navajo Detective Joe Leaphorn, played by actor Zahn McClarnon, who spent much of his childhood on the Blackfeet Reservation.
In 2021 Maya completed production on her debut short film, “Dogwood,” which was entirely shot on the Blackfeet Reservation, including in Browning, Babb and Starr School. The film has screened nationwide (including at Blackfeet Community College) and received numerous awards at industry film festivals. It is a prequel film to a feature length production currently in development set to feature Indigenous actors, director, cast and crew talent.
When asked about the importance of the land in Montana, Maya replied, “I grew up hiking, fishing and climbing mountains in Glacier National Park. I learned the Blackfeet and English names of the plants; which were edible; which were poisonous; and which healed. I also learned the stories of my grandparents, my ancestors and how they were all tied together through the land. In this way — story, heritage, identity, survival — they’re all only possible through a personal relationship to the land. On the rez, and in the Park, I feel at peace, at home and I come to better understand the role I am to play in life.”
Maya Rose is Amskapi Piikani, Mandan and Hidatsa. She is a writer, director and producer from the northern Starr School region of the Blackfeet Nation. Maya was born in Browning and raised on the reservation, Missoula and Boulder, Colorado, where her mother (Annie Belcourt, PhD) works as a professor and is now chair of the Native American Studies at the University of Montana.
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