Off the Rez documentary Watch online

November 26, 2015
View full sizeBruce Ely/The
Directed by Jonathan Hock
2012, 86 minutes
Purchase: $395 Classroom Rental: $125

An unforgettable story about a young Native American woman and her family and their determined pursuit of the American Dream, Off The Rez is an award-winning documentary that follows one of the country's top high school basketball prospects, 16-year-old Shoni Schimmel, who must leave the reservation in order to play in a competitive, nationally-recognized basketball league.

Shoni was a high‐school junior living on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, the star basketball player on the local team. When Shoni's mother, Ceci, is offered a job coaching a high school team in Portland, she sees an opportunity not only for her, but her entire family, and especially Shoni. Against the wishes of her own mother and grandmother on the rez, ' Ceci decides to move to Portland with her eight children in tow and enroll Shoni in the new school.

At the schools, Shoni's talents are quickly recognized and she is picked to play for the basketball team. But the pressure begins to mount. How well she plays this year determines the college she is able to attend. Meanwhile, their life in Portland, away from home and their community, involves a greater adjustment then they anticipated.

But as Shoni continues to play, with each passing game, she notices more Native American fans in the audience. They have come from across the country to see her play.

Off the Rez is an important film about the need to break the cycle of despair and unfulfilled talent that pervades the reservation. Through sports, and the way in which she has chosen to live her life, Shoni has become a brilliant example, a source of pride and inspiration. Together with her mother, she is determined to prove that Native American women can become champions in this country.


"For a change, this film presents a positive portrayal of reservation life; it would be enjoyed by both teen and Native American audiences." Library Journal

" Highly Recommended . A truly inspiring film for athletes, young girls, and Native American youth alike. Off the Rez does well to demonstrate the strength of this familys bond through difficult times. Financial and geographical hardships are presented as relatable to a general audience, and are not perceived specifically as a Native American problems, which is often the case in other documentaries about the reservation." - Educational Media Reviews Online

DVD Pick"In the film, contemporary reservation realities expose the severe setbacks Native families face. This story reflects many truths facing an outstanding athlete, who will not be subdued." Robin Levin, Fort Washakie School/Community Library, School Library Journal

OFF THE REZ - Opening Scene
OFF THE REZ - Opening Scene
OFF THE REZ (2010)
OFF THE REZ (2010)
Off The Rez
Off The Rez
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