In Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga, the first part of a four-part epic, settlers are seen heading west in search of a new town, unaware that they are trespassing on Apache land. The film explores the tensions that arise between the settlers and the Indigenous inhabitants, particularly focusing on the response of the Apache chief and his sons.

Given the historically insensitive portrayals of Native Americans in film, Indigenous actors who joined the project wanted to ensure that their storylines and depictions were respectful and accurate. They were cautious about participating in Western films, but the reputation of Kevin Costner, especially after his film Dances With Wolves, earned their respect.

The actors, such as Tatanka Means, Wasé Chief, and Owen Crow Shoe, emphasized the importance of portraying Native characters authentically and avoiding stereotypes. They appreciated Costner’s commitment to depicting Native women as strong, independent, and free from constraints.

While the film includes scenes of violence and scalping, some critics have raised concerns about the portrayal of Indigenous characters and their screen time. Costner acknowledged the importance of giving dignity and ferocity to the Native characters, as they fought for their way of life and existence against the settlers who sought to claim their land.

To accurately represent the Apache culture, the actors learned the Apache language for their roles, with the help of language teachers and consultants. They found it challenging but rewarding to immerse themselves in a new language and culture for the film.

As the Horizon saga continues with Chapter 2, the actors hope that Native audiences will feel proud and empowered by the portrayal of their people in the film. They want to convey the message that Indigenous communities are resilient, strong, and enduring despite the challenges they face.

Overall, Horizon: An American Saga offers a glimpse into a painful chapter of Native American history, highlighting the strength and resilience of Indigenous communities in the face of adversity. The film serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggles and triumphs of Native peoples, showcasing their rich cultural heritage and enduring spirit.