Nat Geo Series ‘Barkskins’ Taps Indigenous Experts to Tell Its Story

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm May 21, 2020

Barkskins,” a fictional story about a group of outcasts who meet in the New World in 1690 and the interactions they have with the people there—including the Indigenous Iroquois population they were sent to convert—is set to premiere on National Geographic on May 25.

Based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Proulx’s novel of the same name, the eight-part series leaned heavily on Indigenous consultants, particularly those involved in language and cultural revitalization. Zahn McClarnon, who portrays a Harvard educated part-Ojibwe man, said that his joining the project was contingent upon the proper people being hired to ensure authenticity in the representation of Native peoples in the series. “To see all the cultural advisors and not just one cultural advisor, we’re talking about an Wendat cultural advisor, an Iroquois cultural advisor,” McClarnon told Colorlines. “Then we had the language also involved, and I think that was extremely important and I think it comes through in the program itself.” 

Watch the trailer for “Barkskins”: