Cowlitz Indian Tribe Featured in New Netflix Animated Kids Show

Katie Fairbanks / The Daily News

The Cowlitz Indian tribe and culture are featured in Netflix’s new animated children’s show “Spirit Rangers,” which premieres on Indigenous Peoples Day Monday.

The animated preschool series, created by Santa Ynez Chumash Tribal member Karissa Valencia, has a native writers room that includes contributing producer and Cowlitz Indian Tribal member Joey Clift, according to a press release.

“As a member of the Cowlitz tribe and a television writer, being able to combine those parts of myself with my work on ‘Spirit Rangers’ is not just a career highlight, it’s a life highlight,” Clift said in a statement. email.

The series is the first children’s show in the United States created by a Native American woman, according to the press release. Valencia and other showrunners consulted with tribal leaders from all the tribes whose stories inspired the series, according to the release.

“It’s an incredible honor to bring elements of the Cowlitz Culture to Netflix and to do so in collaboration with such an incredible team,” Clift said in a statement. “Representation is so important, especially for our native youth, and I can’t wait. for the world to know about our ‘Spirit Ranger’ kids.”

The show explores the adventure and beauty of nature through the eyes of the Kodi brothers, Summer and Eddy Skycedar, Chumash and Cowlitz, who help protect the land and spirits of the national park they call home in California.

Netflix greenlit the show in early 2020, and Valencia reached out to Clift as he was preparing the Native American writers’ room for the show, he said in an email.

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“It felt like a good fit and the exact type of project I’ve always wanted to work on,” he said.

Clift said the writers talked at length about the tribal makeup of the show’s core family and before settling on a Chumash mother and a Cowlitz father, reflecting Valencia and Clift’s background.

In August 2020, Clift sought the blessing of the Cowlitz Tribal Council and the Cowlitz Cultural Resources Board and worked with them over the past two years to accurately and respectfully include Cowlitz characters, stories inspired by the legends of the Cowlitz’s tribe and language, he said.

“We are incredibly proud to see the Cowlitz Indian Tribe represented on the Netflix platform and commend the ‘Spirit Rangers’ team for their inclusive and culturally appropriate approach to producing the show,” said Patty Kinswa-Gaiser, president of the Netflix General Counsel. the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. “‘Spirit Rangers’ will allow Cowlitz and other native children to come across on screen as the curious, resilient and strong individuals we know them to be.”

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