Braves Wear Braids

Braves Wear Braids is an empowering short documentary focused on encouraging Indigenous youth not to cut their hair. Through personal stories we look at the challenges faced by many Indigenous families to continue the long-standing tradition of wearing long hair in order to keep the connection that ties them, not only to their culture and ancestors, but also to Creator. Through education, understanding, and allyship this important piece of culture can continue to be passed down to future generations.


Directed by Jamie K Starlight, Bryce A Starlight

Bryce and Jamie are first-time film-makers. Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, they look to share Indigenous stories and perspectives.


Jamie K Starlight, Bryce A Starlight


Jamie K Starlight, Bryce A Starlight


Jamie K Starlight, Bryce A Starlight

Key Cast

Ethan Bear, Bruce Starlight, Deana Starlight, Ellory Starlight, Bryce A Starlight, Jamie Starlight, Kelly McGillis, Pat Loyer, Tony Starlight

Director Statement

Although this film focuses on an Indigenous issue, and uses Indigenous storytelling, it was important to us that the messaging was universal and highlighted aspects of experiences that were relatable and could resonate with people from all cultural backgrounds.

Due to the differing effects of the church, government, and disease, on Indigenous communities from one community to the next we aimed to get a relatable, well-rounded story, with experiences shared from many of the modern-day circumstances lived by Indigenous people. Some of which are, those who grew up on reserve with their community and enveloped in their culture, to those who were born and raised in an urban setting, whose connections to culture and community might not be as strong, and are looking to reconnect.

In researching for this film something we commonly heard from Indigenous mother’s was there were very few famous, or well know, young Indigenous men with braids that their sons could look up to. So we looked to Ethan Bear to be this role-model. After a miss-hap in the Stanley Cup Playoff that cost the Edmonton Oilers the game, Ethan was publicly racially targeted and verbally attacked. He, along with his girlfriend Lenasia Ned, decided to stand up to his bullies and made a public announcement chastising their actions. Ethan comes from a community where very few men still wear their hair in braids, but in an effort to connect to his Indigenous culture was in the process of growing out his hair. He really was a perfect fit for our documentary and we knew other Indigenous men and boys could relate to his experiences.

Braves Wear Braves Documentary looks at the spiritual meaning of braids and the struggles Indigenous youth face to keep this vital piece of their culture alive. Featuring NHL hockey player Ethan Bear, Tsuut’ina Elders and other Indigenous men and women, we invite you to journey with us through their personal stories of adversity, resilience and forgiveness.



March 1st – March 8th

Streaming Exclusively
Red Nation Television Network

Native Women in Film & Television In All Media is a program of Red Nation Celebration Institute

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