The film is progressive in terms of its Indigenous representation. Not only is the majority of the cast Indigenous—including Midthunder, who is Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota—but the film flips the script on Hollywood stereotypes of Native American culture, aiming instead to showcase how Indigenous people had their own agency and survivor skills. They were, of course, far from the bush-living “savages” they’re often pained as.
For Midthunder, it was this examination of the Indigenous way of life that drew her to the role in the first place; in fact, when she initially auditioned, she didn’t even realize that it was a Predator movie. “Honestly, all that I knew was that it was a story about a young Comanche woman who wanted to hunt,” Midthunder recalls with a laugh. “I thought that was interesting!”
As the Predator begins zeroing in on Naru and her fellow hunters as a threat, she turns to her land-based teachings to outsmart the blood-thirsty monster. In one scene, for instance, she discovers that her people’s medicinal flower petals actually lower body temperature, making the heat-sensing Predator blind to them. Thus begins a battle of wits—and for once, Indigenous people have the upper hand. “In period pieces, we are often represented as one-dimensional—either hyper-spiritual, or overtly violent with ‘savage’ stereotypes,” says Midthunder. “I was interested in the opportunity to show Native people in a period piece, and what our culture and way of life was actually like.”