The untold story of Alaska Native dogsled racing champion George Attla and his legacy


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RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews Online | BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE - American Indian Film Festival | BEST INDIGENOUS FEATURE - BendFilm Festival

Native American Studies • Sociology • U.S. History • American Studies • Sociology of Sport • Environmental Studies

Date of Completion: 2019 | Run Time: 60 minutes​​ Language:  English | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript & Discussion Guide Director: Catharine Axley | Producers: Melissa Langer & Kristine Stolakis | Associate Producer & Cultural Adviser: Evon Peter

ATTLA tells the gripping but little-known story of George Attla, an Alaska Native dogsled racer who, with one good leg and fierce determination, rose to international fame and became a legendary sports hero. Part dog whisperer, ingenious businessman, and teenage heartthrob, George defied characterization during a unique period of history when Western education, economics, and culture penetrated the Alaskan village lifestyle and forever changed the state with the discovery of oil in the late 1960s. ATTLA interweaves George’s story into the final chapter of his life, as he emerges from retirement to train his twenty-year-old grandnephew, Joe, to restore a village tradition by competing in the world’s largest sprint dogsled race.

Harvard University | Philip J. Deloria, Professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies & Chair, Committee on Degrees in History and Literature
"A visually compelling, beautifully-told story of courage, charisma, and intergenerational apprenticeship, Attla explores the bonds that tie together multiple generations, humans and their animals, and the power of indigenous culture work across Alaska."

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) Reviewed by Andy Horbal, University of Maryland Libraries

"Although this is definitely a film about George Attla, the final ten minutes belong to Joe Bifelt. [...]  It’s the perfect note to end on for a film that is clearly just as interested in the impact that Attla will continue to have on his community in the future through the people he influenced as it is in his storied past."

Best Documentary Feature | American Indian Film Festival
Best Indigenous Feature | BendFilm Festival
Jury Award for Made in Alaska Documentary Feature • Audience Award for Made in Alaska Documentary Feature | Anchorage International Film Festival
Official Selection | Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
Official Selection | Santa Fe Film Festival
Official Selection | Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival
Official Selection | Heartland International Film Festival
Official Selection | Vision Maker Film Festival
Official Selection | Wasatch Mountain Film Festival

Alaska Film Archives
Alaska Humanities Forum
Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association
Alaska Sports Hall of Fame
Frank Attla Youth & Sled Dog Care-Mushing Program


Amanda Attla is the daughter of champion dogsled racer George Attla, Jr., whose life story is the subject of ATTLA. She is Koyukon Athabascan Indian and Yup’ik Eskimo. Amanda has worked for 18 years as a Native Culture/Art Instructor, a master Athabascan Artist-Culture Bearer for the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a coach and judge for Native Youth Olympics, Arctic Winter Games, and World Eskimo Indian Olympics, and as a culture teacher throughout Alaskan school districts. Amanda has spoken across Alaska on the issues of alcohol and drug abuse and suicide prevention. Currently, Amanda works for Alaska - Care & Husbandry Instruction for Lifelong Living as an Athabascan culture expert and travels to villages in interior Alaska to teach students and communities.