Filming on American Indian Reservations in North Dakota

North Dakota recognizes the independent nation status of each reservation and does not claim any authority or jurisdiction on reservation lands. The North Dakota Film Commission encourages filmmakers to respect Indian lands and people who contribute to their work so they will be welcomed to return. We also strongly support the creative control of the filmmaker.

Contacts: This production guide lists contact numbers for each North Dakota Indian reservation. Current tribal officeholders and contact information for tribal elders can be obtained through the Film Commission, the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission (701-328-2428) or the tribal office. Tribal colleges also are excellent sources for research and interviews.

Powwow Etiquette: Powwows are colorful, exciting and look great on film. But before filming or taping a powwow, please contact event organizers to discuss your purpose and what you wish to do during the event. You likely will be welcomed with open arms. Please check in at the powwow announcer's booth when you arrive. Some portions of the powwow are considered sacred and private and may be forbidden to film. Please display deepest respect for any ceremony or reenactment of sacred ceremonies.

Cultural Sensitivities: It is a common concern of filmmakers to be sensitive to cultural and racial differences. As a rule, common courtesy and respect go very far. When in doubt about terminology, a direct but polite question will not be found offensive.

Compensation: Film crews working in North Dakota have found Indian people generous and willing to help. The Film Commission respectfully asks filmmakers to make reasonable offers of reimbursement and compensation when asking for something of value such as an interview, research or acting.

Confidentiality: Unless otherwise instructed, the North Dakota Film Commission considers all scripts, treatments and other business of the filmmaker to be proprietary and confidential. Tribes and tribal members deserve to understand the nature and scope of a project, and therefore, should be given some kind of script or treatment when asked to contribute.

American Indian Reservations

Tribal Colleges