Ishi's Return

A four-part series that chronicles the unexpected history of Native American nations in the 20th century.

Film Signature Image
NETA Presentation
Premiere Date
October 29, 2016
30 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects

Chris Eyre


Brian Wescott


Leslie Clark


Roberta Grossman

An award-winning filmmaker with a passion for history and social justice, Roberta Grossman has written and produced more than forty hours of documentary television. She was the series producer and co-writer of 500 Nations, the eight-hour CBS mini-series on Native Americans hosted by Kevin Costner. Grossman’s feature documentary, Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action, Show more premiered in February 2005, and has screened and won awards at more than 40 festivals worldwide. Other writing and producing credits include In the Footsteps of Jesus, a four-hour special for the History Channel; Hollywood & Power: Women on Top, a special for AMC; The Rich in America: 150 Years of Town and Country Magazine for A&E; The History of Christianity: the First Thousand Years, a four-hour special on A&E; Medal of Honor, a six-part television series produced for U.S. News & World Report; and “Heroines of the Hebrew Bible” and "Judas" for the A&E series Mysteries of the Bible. Show less

Other ITVS Films
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Executive Producer

Lisa Thomas

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The Film

Most popular histories of American Indians end in 1890 with the massacre at Wounded Knee and the removal of Plain tribes onto reservations. Ishi's Return, a four-part series directed by Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, Skins), takes this moment as the beginning — rather than the end — of an unexpected story of survival. Against towering odds, well over 500 tribal nations have navigated successfully into modern life in every corner of the continent.