“Smoke Signals” was marketed as the first feature film written, directed, and produced by Native Americans. It is an important movie for Indian Country and marked a big moment when Native people could see themselves reflected on the big screen.
In 2018 it was added to the National Film Registry. The citation reads:
“… After the early silent film pioneers James Young Deer and Edwin Carewe, the portrayal of Native Americans in cinema turned dark and stereotypical. These social trends started changing with motion pictures like the groundbreaking “Smoke Signals” … Beneath the highly entertaining façade, the film acquainted non-Native American audiences with real insights into the indigenous Americans’ culture.”
More than 20 years after the films release “Hey Victor!” is still a household phrase across Indian Country.