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Native Americans in this year's Academy Awards spotlight

Lily Gladstone/Ariel Tweto pic credit:

With the award season wrapping up, it’s safe to say Native American representation was up front and center, with many awards taken home, and possibly more on the way.

Ahead of Sunday’s 96th Academy awards, watch parties are being planned across the country, and Alaska is no different.

And among Indigenous people, there's much anticipation and excitement. This year, they are cheering on three Indigenous actors, nominated in different categories.

Lily Gladstone, Blackfeet and Nez Perce is up for Best Actress for her role as Mollie Burkhart in the film, Killers of the Flower Moon.

Also, nominated for awards for their contributions to the film are Scott George, Osage, who composed Wahzhazhe, which is up for best song — with Robbie Robertson, Mohawk and Cayuga, nominated for best score.

Killers of the Flower Moon investigates the murders of dozens of Osage people in Oklahoma in the 1920s for oil money.

Gladstone recently became the first Native American to win a Golden Globes award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-drama, an award she dedicated to Native youth.

Gladstone also took home an honor from the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Indigenous people working in the film and television industry are applauding Gladstone’s achievements and the other Oscar nominations.

Ariel Tweto, an Inupiaq from Unalakleet, is a t-v personality, producer and actress.

Tweto says Gladstone's awards and Oscar nominations are paving way for other Indigenous actors.

“Her being nominated, and like winning a bunch of these awards already is paving the pathway for people like me that are in the TV industry, and the film industry,” Tweto said, “Like we need someone to look up to. Even though she’s a year older than me, I see her as such a trailblazer, and role model.”

Tweto says Killers of the Flower Moon is helping to highlight the work both on and off the screen by Indigenous people in the film and television industry.

"I think the success of Killers of the Flower Moon is proving to people, that people are interested in these types of stories. And so, people, like writers, directors are watching these types of movies. They care about people like us, and they see our faces on screen,” Tweto said, “and Native people see people that look like them on screen, so they’re like, ‘They look like me, and they’re doing this? They’re living their dream? They’re sharing our stories, they’re telling our stories.’”

Tweto says the films make people outside of Indigenous culture care about Indigenous peoples by learning their stories and their perspectives, which is a good thing.

Tweto will be anticipating the news after the awards, as she’ll be in a cabin with no electricity.

“I’ll be like snowboarding, or playing in the mountains somewhere, or at our cabin in Alaska,” she said. “So, good luck Lily! And Killers of the Flower Moon, I’m rooting for you!”

Watch parties taking place in tribal communities include the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, a Navajo community in New Mexico, and the Indigenous organization IllumiNative has a dowloadable Oscars Watch Party Kit, which can be found at illumi-native-dot-org.