By destroying old tropes, Prey turns a corner for Native Americans in film

But viewers are also responding favorably to Prey because it is a watershed moment for representation, one that features members of the often vilified Comanche tribe as heroes. They are portrayed as neither the “savage Indian” of cinema’s past (The Searchers), nor the mystical Native American figure (Pocahontas), nor the white man’s sidekick in a story told from his point of view (The Lone Ranger), but rather the heroes of their own story from the first moment to the last.

To understand how rare this is, and what a momentous achievement Prey represents — one that is being praised by indigenous critics — we must first consider Native American representation throughout movie history.