Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month
NMPBS has a dynamic line-up of programs commemorating Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month throughout November, including new & encore presentations.
Films about, starring, and made by Indigenous Peoples
Indigenize the Plate
Exploring the connection between food sustainability and cultural sustainability for indigenous communities, a Diné woman travels from New Mexico to the Andes in Peru to connect with a Quechuan community who are developing their own solutions to address the same challenges seen in their region.
Native Ball: Legacy of a Trailblazer
Each year in the U.S., nearly 5,000 high-school girls’ basketball players earn a full-ride Division I scholarship. In 1992, only one was Native American: Blackfeet Nation’s Malia Kipp. Living in two worlds presented challenges, but Kipp carried the burden with grace and grit. Described by her chief as “a warrior,” she blazed a heroic and inspiring trail for other Native girls to follow.
Bring Her Home
Bring Her Home follows three Indigenous women – an artist, an activist, and a politician – as they fight to vindicate and honor their missing and murdered relatives who have fallen victims to a growing epidemic across Indian country. Despite the lasting effects from historical trauma, each woman must search for healing while navigating racist systems that brought about this very crisis.
Canes of Power
In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln recognized Pueblo independence by bestowing an ornamental, silver tipped cane to each Pueblo Nation. This documentary tells the story of the Canes in the voice of the Pueblo people and the struggle for sovereignty, upon which cultural survival depends.
The Warrior Tradition
The Warrior Tradition, tells the astonishing, heartbreaking, inspiring, and largely-untold story of Native Americans in the United States military. Why would Indian men and women put their lives on the line for the very government that took their homelands? The film relates the stories of Native American warriors from their own points of view – stories of service and pain, of courage and fear.
What does it mean to sing at the drum? How does kinship transform losses? How do powwows link families and traditions? Blackfeet and Salish elders and youth integrate past and present through kinship and commemorative performance. Together their voices make a song of innovation and resilience.
The Art of Home: A Wind River Story
Two indigenous artists create new works reflecting on their tribal homelands, the Wind River Indian Reservation. Ken Williams (Arapaho) is a Santa Fe art celebrity and Sarah Ortegon (Shoshone) is an up-and-coming actress in Denver. Both artists travel to Wind River Reservation to reconnect with their ancestors and present their art work to a somewhat isolated community.
In 2015, the Winnebago Boys basketball team won their first state championship since 1940. NET chronicles the Bago Boys 2014-15 championship season. This 30 minute documentary, follows the team through their challenges both on and off the court as they journey to Lincoln seeking a Nebraska State Championship trophy!
Standing Bear's Footsteps
Standing Bear's Footsteps is the story of an Indian chief who went to court to prove he was a person—and in the process redefined what it means to be an American. The 60-minute high definition documentary weaves together interviews, recreations and present day scenes to tell a story about human rights, one that resonates powerfully in the present.
Playing for the World
In 1902, a unique combination of Native women came together at a boarding school in Montana. They used the new sport of basketball to help them adjust to a rapidly changing world. Their travels and experiences led them to places they never imagined. Ultimately, these women played for something much larger than themselves.
Urban Rez explores the controversial legacy & modern-day effects of the US Government's assimilation policy to dismantle the Indian Reservation system by relocating American Indians from their rural homelands to urban areas. Stories from many tribal nations speak to the challenges of maintaining one's own culture within the dominant society. Narrated by Moses Brings Plenty/ Lakota.
Indigenous Short Films
In Alaska, climate change threatens the natural world, and the cultural history held by rural and Native communities. Cordelia Kellie first truly felt at home when she started learning the Iñupiaq language and visited her mother’s hometown, Wainwright. Now she shares her knowledge and pride in Alaska Native culture with other youth Alaskans.
What Does Electric Pow Wow Sound Like?
Canadian DJ collective A Tribe Called Red combine Native American drum circle sounds with electronic music to create Electric Pow wow. Nahre Sol travels to Toronto to meet A Tribe Called Red to learn how they blend native sounds and electronic music. LA Buckner meets with Iron Boy drum circle in Minnesota to watch a live performance and learn about their sound.
Native American Hoop Dancing and Hip-Hop in Minneapolis
Micco and his older brother Samsoche are well known on powwow grounds and beyond for their impressive hoop dance routines, which are often performed to the beat of Native hip-hop. Watch them perform traditional hoop dance formations in front of Minneapolis’ American Indian Center, on the Mississippi’s Stone Arch Bridge and underneath the Hennepin Avenue overpass.
Indigenous Shows, Specials and Series
In 1968, five-year-old Bezhig Little Bird was forcibly removed from Long Pine Reserve and adopted into a Jewish family in Montreal, and renamed Esther Rosenblum. Eighteen years later, she embarks on a journey to unravel her history. Through this epic journey of connection and self-discovery, Bezhig Little Bird begins to find her lost family and put the pieces of her fragmented past back together.
The American Buffalo
The dramatic story of America’s national mammal, which sustained the lives of Native people for untold generations, being driven to the brink of extinction, before an unlikely collection of people rescues it from disappearing forever. Ken Burns recounts the tragic collision of two opposing views of the natural world—and the unforgettable characters who pointed the nation in a different direction.
Season 2 of Native America is a groundbreaking portrait of contemporary Indian Country. This four-part Native directed series reveals the beauty and power of today’s Indigenous world. Smashing stereotypes, it follows the brilliant engineers, bold politicians, and cutting-edge artists who draw upon Native tradition to build a better 21st century.
If Cities Could Dance "Indigenous Enterprise Brings Powwow Dance to the World Stage"
Indigenous Enterprise, made up of a new generation of Native American Powwow dancers from across the U.S. and Canada, is on a mission to bring Native culture to new heights and audiences. Founded on what Kenneth Shirley (Diné) calls the “Three Ps”—preservation, performance and progression—Indigenous Enterprise focuses on uplifting sacred dances and rituals.
Indigi-Genius is devoted to telling the scientific & cultural impact of Indigenous creations & knowledge of the past and present. Written & hosted by Dr. Lee Francis, pueblo & self described Indigi-Nerd, & funded in part by VisionMaker Media. The series covers a range of global Indigenous topics & breaks down the science, culture, history, & “Indigi-Genius” knowledge.
On San Francisco’s first official Indigenous People’s Day, a group of Native artists contributed a dance performance, Groundworks, to the annual Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz nearly 50 years after the Indians of All Tribes occupied the island. Their contemporary creative practices and activism help these artists work towards the reclamation of Native lands while restoring traditional ways.
America ReFramed “Blood Memory”
For Sandy White Hawk, the story of America’s Indian Adoption Era is not one of saving children but of destroying families and tribes. As an adoption survivor, Sandy sets out to reclaim the missing pieces of her stolen past only to discover that hers was not an isolated case. Blood Memory explores the communal healing that is sparked by the return of this stolen generation.
Ben Nighthorse Campbell
The son of a tubercular mother and an alcoholic father, Ben Nighthorse Campbell persevered to become one of America’s most interesting leaders. From high school dropout to Olympic athlete… from artist to the United States Senator from Colorado… Ben has amassed a collection of identities, but none so important as the one he was ceremonially given by his father’s Northern Cheyenne tribe: Nighthorse.
America ReFramed "Town Destroyer"
Town Destroyer probes a passionate dispute over historic murals at a public high school depicting the life of George Washington: slaveowner, General, land speculator, President, and a man Seneca leaders called “town destroyer.” The controversy becomes a touchstone for a national debate over public art and historic memory in a time of racial reckoning.
Independent Lens "alter-NATIVE: Kitchen"
Brian Yazzie, a Diné/Navajo traveling chef, does presentations demonstrating Native cooking across the country while mentoring Native youth. Brian uses modern techniques with Indigenous ingredients, prepping amazing dishes like sumac duck confit with acorn squash, mushroom and sunflower shoots, turnips and sunchoke puree, sweetgrass-infused beet puree, and his very popular wild rice bowl.
Independent Lens "Conscience Point"
Conscience Point tracks the fractured history of the Shinnecock tribe on Long Island alongside the spirited path of one Native woman determined to make a stand: activist Rebecca Hill-Genia who, together with other determined tribal members and allies, has waged a relentless, years-long battle to protect the land and Shinnecock cultural heritage from the ravages of development and displacement.
American Veteran: The Return
Hollywood war stories mostly end with the hero’s return. In reality, the road back to civilian life is less certain. For some, there were ticker-tape parades; for others, protests, anger and silence. Some veterans return home full of confidence, while others think, “What am I going to do now?” Hosted by actor Wes Studi, Vietnam War Veteran (National Guard) and Native American (Cherokee) activist.
Kind Hearted Woman (Part 1 & 2)
In a special two-part series, acclaimed filmmaker David Sutherland creates an unforgettable portrait of Robin Charboneau, a 32-year-old divorced single mother and Oglala Sioux woman living on North Dakota's Spirit Lake Reservation. Sutherland follows Robin over three years as she struggles to raise her two children, further her education, and heal herself from the the wounds of sexual abuse.
Unspoken: America's Native American Boarding Schools
KUED takes a moving and insightful look into the history, operation, and legacy of the federal Indian Boarding School system, whose goal was total assimilation of Native Americans at the cost of stripping away Native culture, tradition, and language.
The Reign of Terror
Just below the tall grass of the Osage reservation was an ocean of oil, it made every member of the tribe a millionaire and a target. In the 1920’s, hundreds of Osage Indians were dying in mysterious circumstances. Shady characters from all over came to strip it from them any way they could. It took the birth of the FBI to end what was called “The Reign of Terror.”
First People - Kumeyaay
The Kumeyaay Nation at one time lived throughout this region and is currently comprised of 13 reservations scattered across San Diego County and four in northern Baja California. The Kumeyaay people who live on and off these reservations share a heritage that goes back, in their words, "to the beginning of time." This Emmy-nominated film explores some aspects of this resilient culture.
State of Sequoyah
For centuries Native Americans had been forced from their lands in the east and were told that eventually they would have a place out west where they could live in peace and call their own. After years of broken promises the tribes in Indian Territory decided the best way to preserve their way of life was to become a state.
Tribal Histories features tribal storytellers sharing the culture and oral traditions that have shaped their communities across generations. The series of half-hour programs presents the histories of all eleven federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands located in Wisconsin, plus one tribe that is seeking to regain its federal status.
FRONTLINE: The Silence
FRONTLINE examines a little-known chapter of the Catholic Church sex abuse story - decades of abuse of Native Americans by priests and other church workers in Alaska. All told, they would leave behind a trail of hundreds of claims of abuse, making this one of the hardest hit regions in the country.
America ReFramed “On A Knife Edge”
The coming-of-age story of George Dull Knife, a Lakota teen growing up on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. The film traces George’s path to activism, inspired by his family’s history of fighting for justice for Native Americans. His focus: shutting down liquor stores in Whiteclay, a tiny town nearby that exists only to sell beer to the reservation’s vulnerable population.
Coming Soon to PBS Learning Media
Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting
Imagining the Indian is a comprehensive examination of the movement to eradicate the words, images, and gestures that many Native Americans and their allies find demeaning and offensive. The film takes a deep-dive into the issues through archival footage and interviews with those involved in the fight. The psychological research is clear, the use of Native American mascots is detrimental, not only to Native people, but to marginalized groups everywhere.