Public Media Focuses on Indigenous Life and Values in November, Native American Heritage Month
October 31, 2022
Clockwise from top left, ICT Newscast anchor Aliyah Chavez, Molly of Denali, Buffy Sainte-Marie (courtesy of Matt Barnes), ICT Editor-at-large Mark Trahant, Indigenous YOUth Nation, and Laine Rinehart Neechyanagut, who practices Chilkat weaving.
From live election night coverage focused on Native and Indigenous voters, to tracking Native Americans running for office, to a range of programming focused on Indigenous life and values, public media is covering the Native American experience during November, Native American Heritage Month.
Among the highlights:
ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) and FNX, First Nations Experience, the public television network devoted to Native American and Indigenous issues, are teaming for live coverage of the midterm elections from 7-10 p.m. PST on November 8. ICT Newscast anchor Aliyah Chavez and ICT editor-at-large Mark Trahant anchor the coverage from KVCR in San Bernardino, CA., with 11 correspondents in nine states and Washington, D.C., plus a correspondent at the watch party for James Ramos, the first California Native American to be elected to the California State Assembly. The coverage airs on at least 22 public television stations in 25 states, from Alaska to New York, and streams on the ICT website and Native Voice One, the Native American Radio Network.
Vision Maker Media, the CPB-supported organization that works with Native producers to develop, produce, and distribute programs to educate audiences, is showcasing Native American and Alaska Native films in Together, the 2022 Vision Maker Media Film Festival. The festival runs through November 13 in Lincoln, NE, and streams for free online. Halloween week films (online through November 6) include The Dead Can’t Dance, The Vampire Upstairs, and Shadow Dancer. From November 7-13, the films are Standing Bear’s Footsteps, What Was Ours and Indigeneity, a series of three short films exploring the terminology of Indigenous peoples, Native American diversity, and common stereotypes about Native Americans. Running throughout the festival are Sister Wolves, an animated short based on an oral history from the San Poil region of the Colville Confederated Tribes; and Injunuity, a compilation of short films starting with an animated interpretation of the National Anthem sung in Diné (Navajo) by Braunwyn Walsh.
On PBS, Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On, a documentary on the Cree musician, artist and activist, features never-before-seen archival material, new performance footage, and interviews with stars including Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and others. The film premieres on American Masters at 9 pm EST/8 p.m. CST on November 22 on PBS (check local listings), the PBS app and streaming on PBS.org.
WORLD Channel, the news and documentary public television multicast channel available in three-quarters of U.S. households, features a slate of films on Indigenous communities throughout November, including two television premieres. In Their Element, airing as part of Local: USA, features four Indigenous communities working to protect a different natural resource: earth, air, fire, and water. Presented in partnership with The WNET Group’s Peril and Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change initiative, the program premieres at 9 p.m. EST on October 31 on WORLD Channel, WORLDChannel.org and on the PBS app. “Groundworks,” airing at 8 p.m. on November 2, tells the stories of four artists who created the Groundworks project, a year-long media collaboration that culminated with a performance on Alcatraz Island on San Francisco's first official Indigenous Peoples Day in October 2018.
The third season of Molly of Denali, the first nationally distributed children's program to feature Native American and Alaska Native lead characters, premieres on November 7 on PBS KIDS, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and PBSKIDS digital channels. In addition, “The Big Gathering,” a short-form video series and interactive game featuring Molly and her friends preparing for a convention, inspired by the real-life Alaska Federation of Natives convention, will be released online. The first 10 videos will start streaming November 7, with a second batch premiering on PBSKIDS.org on November 21.
Native Voice One, the Native American radio network, features special programming throughout November. Distributed by Anchorage-based Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Native Voice One is carried by public radio stations in 39 states, streams online and through an NV1 streaming app. Check local listings for program times and airdates.
- The first episode of Indigenous YOUth Nation, a half-hour radio program made by and for tweens and teens, highlights the Diné Nation, also known as the Navajo. Indigenous YOUth Nation, produced in partnership with KWMR, is part of the By/With/For Youth: Inspiring Next Gen Public Media Audiences initiative from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and funded by the CPB.
- Native Artist, part of the contemporary Indigenous music program Indigefi, includes a half-hour episode focused on Laine Rinehart Neechyanagut (Lingit and Pueblo) who practices Chilkat weaving, a traditional form for several Pacific Coast Tribes.
- Standing in Two Worlds: Native American College Diaries, an audio documentary from APM Reports, features four Indigenous college students telling how they are using higher education to strengthen ties to their Native roots and support their people.
- NV1 is distributing Indigenous episodes of the Sacred Steps Series, part of the KALW podcast The Spiritual Edge, which explores the shifting landscape of religion and spirituality. Calling on Ancient Maya Wisdom to Heal Guatemalan Widows and Fighting for What's Sacred in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were produced by Judy Silber and KALW Public Radio.
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