Hunting in Wartime

Hunting in Wartime profiles the harrowing stories of Tlingit Vietnam veterans from the village of Hoonah, Alaska.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
66 mins
Closed captioning available All4Access available
Remote video URL


Hunting in Wartime profiles Tlingit veterans from Hoonah, Alaska who saw combat during the Vietnam War. The veterans talk about surviving trauma, relating to Vietnamese civilians, readjusting to civilian life, and serving a government that systematically oppresses native people. Their stories give an important human face to the combat soldier and show the lasting affects of war on individuals, families and communities.

Featured review

An excellent, moving treatment of the Vietnam War as told by an often overlooked group of veterans, this is a worthy supplement to American history curricula or Alaskan Native/American Indian studies.
Elizabeth Nicolai
School Library Journal


Hunting in Wartime profiles the stories of Tlingit Native Americans from the village of Hoonah, Alaska who served in the Vietnam War. Their stories confront the complexity of serving a country that systematically oppressed them; a government that forbid the Tlingit language, over-logged their forests, and established laws that robbed returning vets of their ancestral trade as fishermen. Furthermore, their stories expose on a very personal level the human experience of war and it’s lasting effects on veterans as well as their communities. Many vets succumbed to the horrors of alcoholism, PTSD and suicide; while some were able to climb back out to lead the next generation back to their Tlingit heritage.

There are many films out today that profile veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hunting In Wartime has the long-range perspective of how a soldier’s life was affected long after the war ended, giving us a glimpse into what present-day soldiers may confront in the future. The film portrays a stark reality of the human cost of war.


✮✮✮ stars, Video Librarian"A deeply affecting film that powerfully focuses on the plight of one particular group of Vietnam veterans while also illuminating issues that affected all, this is recommended.
F. Swietek
Video Librarian
Hunting in Wartime is a unique resource in reaching both tribal and non-tribal Veterans who may experience post-service trauma. It opens space for any veteran and their families to communicate about previously unspoken trauma through its compelling story...
Susan A. Maley
MPH, Ph.D., Project Director, Rural Veterans Health Access Program, AK
Hunting in Wartime masterfully pulls together the tough but critical issues of the impact of war on soldiers--especially following their return home--and the way Alaskan native communities have been repeatedly oppressed...
Stan North Martin
Director of Communications, NC State University
As a former readjustment counseling therapist for the Vet Center program, I really could have used something like this!... I was so impressed with the response from audiences which included veterans, family members, and community residents. It has been shown in villages, small to mid-sized communities and cities. It is relevant to all.
Pamela L. Watts
M. Coun, LPC, NCC, Former Executive Director, Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc.
A powerful and disturbing look at what happens to peaceful men, for whom hunting is key to their community's survival, when their aim is repurposed in service of a murderous war.
Stuart Ewen
Distinguished Professor, Department of Film & Media Studies, Hunter College
...this artful documentary makes clear that the costs of the war at home are still being incurred almost 50 years later.
Danielle DiNovelli Lang
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University
an Intimate Account of Village Life, the Vietnam War and the Veteran Condition.
Anchorage Press
Anchorage Press
Multilayered and Nuanced Story about Struggle, Survival and Healing.
Homer News
Homer News

Awards and Screenings

National PBS , 2022
Honorable Mention, Voice Award, 2016
National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME), 2022
Cambodia International Film Festival, 2018
New Haven International Film Festival, 2018
Sheldon Jackson Museum, 2018
University of Montana, 2018
Sitka Public Library, 2018
Film Fest 52, 2017
Hartford Public Library, 2017
NC State University Screening, 2016
Sea Alaska Heritage Foundation, 2016
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival - Official Selection, 2015
American Indian Film Festival - Official Selection (San Francisco, CA), 2015
Red Nation Film Festival - Official Selection (Los Angeles, CA), 2015
Red Dirt Film Festival - Official Selection (OK), 2015
University of Alaska Southeast Screening, 2015
Alaska Native Heritage Center Screening (Anchorage, AK), 2015
Homer Theater Screening (AK), 2015
Gold Town Movie Theater Screening (Juneau, AK), 2015
Hoonah Indian Association Community Center Screening, 2015
Alaska Press Club Conference, 2015

Director Commentary

Howard Zinn and his belief in preserving people's history beyond the ruling class has had a profound effect on me. It is important to see all sides of a particular historical event to truly grasp its meaning.

Because the Tlingit community passes their history down through verbal storytelling, there isn't a great deal of documentation regarding Tlingit history. The impetus behind this project was to support/document and preserve Tlingit history.

To date, no one has produced a piece about the Tlingit experience and the Vietnam War. The Tlingit community is somewhat insular and distrusting of outsiders, and it is my privilege that the veterans on the island have entrusted me with their experiences. Their unique stories offer a new perspective on the Vietnam War - and war in general - from a group that is rarely heard, much less seen.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • All4Access
  • Subtitles

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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