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Aliyah Chavez
ICT

When Netflix’s 220 million subscribers log into their accounts on Monday, they will find a new animated series called “Spirit Rangers.”

The show was created by “the Avengers” of Native writers, producers and voice actors. That can be seen through the 20 episodes that were unveiled on Indigenous Peoples Day.

The show is the first kids show in the U.S. to be created by a Native woman, according to Netflix.

It joins the animated world of Indigenous on-screen characters, which includes PBS Kids’ “Molly of Denali” released in 2019. 

(RELATED: ‘Molly of Denali’ is like my siblings)

“Spirit Rangers” follows a modern Native family who lives and works in a national park. The three main characters are Kodi, Summer and Eddy Skycedar, who share a secret which allows them to transform into animals to protect their home. Together, the Indigenous children take on many challenges, from helping a lost thunderbird to waking a sleepy sun. 

“Spirit Rangers” follows a modern Native family who lives and works in a national park. The three main characters are Kodi, Summer and Eddy Skycedar who are Chumash and Cowlitz. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

“Spirit Rangers” was created by Chumash citizen Karissa Valencia who joined “The ICT Newscast with Aliyah Chavez” in September to say the project was a labor of love.

“I’m particularly proud of our all-Native writing staff. That was something I told Netflix I really wanted when I pitched the show,” Valencia said. “That is where the heart of the series really lies.”

"Spirit Rangers" was created by an all-Native writing staff. (Photo courtesy of Karissa Valencia)
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The voices actors are some many might recognize.

Talon Proc-Aflord plays Eddy; Wacinyeya Iwasaka Yracheta plays Kodi while Isis Celilo Rogers plays Summer.

Other cast members include Devery Jacobs, Tantoo Cardinal, Wes Studi, and Brook Simpson, among others. 

"Spirit Rangers" was created by the "Native avengers" team, including various voice actors. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Valencia says her team wanted to display the diversity of Indigenous people in the show. That’s why Kodi, Summer and Eddy all have different skin tones, hair and eye colors.

The three main characters, the Skycedars, are from two tribes: the Chumash and Cowlitz.

“When I wanted to make the family multi-tribal, I obviously went to my tribe to ask for their permission,” Valencia said.

She went to one of the “Spirit Rangers” writers Joey Clift, Cowlitz, with the idea of including his tribe.

“Joey had a big meeting with his tribe and elders to ask for their permission. And they said yes,” Valencia said.

“We’re incredibly proud to see the Cowlitz Indian Tribe depicted 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, the General Council Chairwoman of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.

“This has been such a joy to show a beautiful Native family,” Valencia said. “I can’t wait for everybody to see it.”

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is the anchor and managing editor of the ICT Newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez.

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