Candidates and Culture Center Stage This Native American Heritage Month

November 5, 2018

Growing Native

(Growing Native is a four-part series focused on reclaiming traditional Native ways.)

From coast-to-coast election coverage tracking Native Americans running for office to documentaries, public media is covering the Native American experience during November, Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

With a record 103 Native Americans running for federal and state office from Maine to Alaska, voters will be able to tune in to five hours of live election coverage focused on Native Americans on public television, public radio and online. The multiplatform broadcast is a first-ever collaboration among the CPB-supported Native Voice One public radio network, FNX | First Nations Experience public television network and the digital news platform Indian Country Today. Indian Country Today editor Mark Trahant will anchor the coverage beginning at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on November 6. He will be joined by National Native News anchor/producer Antonia Gonzales for a one-hour election results show that Native Voice One will make available to local public radio stations on November 7.

Throughout the month public media is premiering, broadcasting and streaming numerous programs highlighting the Native American experience. Examples include:


“Dawnland” premieres on Independent Lens, PBS, 10 pm November 5 (check local listings). This documentary goes behind the scenes of the Maine Wabanaki-State Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission. The film shows the historic body charting a new course for state and tribal relations and documents the lasting impact of policies that removed Wabanaki children from their homes and placed them in foster care for decades. CPB supported “Dawnland” through grants to Vision Maker Media and the Independent Television Service.


Growing Native,” a four-part weekly TV series premieres November 5, distributed by American Public Television, check local listings. The series focuses on reclaiming traditional knowledge and foodways (the cultural, social and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food) to address health and wellness, the environment and human rights. “Growing Native” concentrates on tribes, stories and events from Alaska, Oklahoma and the Northwest and Great Lakes regions. CPB supported the series through Vision Maker Media.

“Native America,” a four-part series, concludes on PBS at 9 pm ET/8 CT November 13, check local listings. The series combines modern science and scholarship with Native American traditions and oral history. It brings to life a land of massive cities connected by social networks spanning two continents, with unique and sophisticated systems of science, art and writing.

“Moroni for President” premiere, America ReFramed, WORLD Channel, 8 pm on November 20, check local listings. This documentary follows Moroni Benally, an underdog candidate for president of the Navajo Nation. "Moroni for President" examines the meaning of identity in the largest Native American tribe in the United States and the pressing social issues facing Native Americans today. This film is supported by CPB through Vision Maker Media.

“Powwow!” UnderCurrents Weekend radio special, distributed by PRX, check local listings. UnderCurrents Weekend goes to the Stanford Powwow, where hosts Gregg McVicar & Gabriela Castelán meet attendees from many tribes to discuss dance, tradition, food, jewelry and friendship. UnderCurrents is a CPB-supported daily music service that provides an eclectic mix of Native, rock, folk, blues, and reggae music to public radio stations serving Native audiences.   


“Native Art Now!” public television documentary distributed by American Public Television, check local listings. The documentary examines the evolution of contemporary Native art over the past 25 years with perspectives from internationally acclaimed contemporary Native artists. WFYI Public Television in Indianapolis produced the film in partnership with the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.


Skindigenous, a 13-part documentary series distributed by American Public Television, check local listings. This series, which premiered in September, explores indigenous tattooing traditions around the world, with each episode focusing on a unique indigenous culture to discover the tools and techniques, the symbols and traditions that shape their tattooing art. CPB supported the series through Vision Maker Media.

Mankiller, airing on PBS stations, check local listings. This biopic about Wilma Mankiller shows how she overcame rampant sexism and personal challenges to emerge as the Cherokee Nation’s first woman Principal Chief in 1985. CPB supported this documentary  through Vision Maker Media.

Ohiyesa: Soul of an Indian, airing on PBS stations, check local listings. This 60-minute documentary follows Kate Beane, a young Dakota woman, as she examines the extraordinary life of her celebrated relative, Ohiyesa/Charles Eastman. Kate traces Eastman’s path—from a traditional Dakota boyhood through education at Dartmouth College, and in later roles as physician, author, lecturer and Native American advocate. CPB supported this documentary through Vision Maker Media.

Our Voices Will Be Heard, streaming on Native Voice One. This radio theater adaptation reveals how generations face the choice of continuing to perpetuate or disrupt family violence. The 59-minute radio adaptation was written by Vera Starbard and directed by Larissa FastHorse. CPB supported the original production through Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, a nonprofit Alaska Native media center. 

Definition of Resilience Indigefi, Native Voice One, check local listings. This special production of “Indigefi,” a weekly modern indigenous music program airing on Native Voice One, weaves the stories of eight Alaska Native and Native American hip-hop and rap artists together with the common theme of the resilience. “Indigifi” is distributed by Native Voice One and produced by Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. 

Koahnic’s streaming service, The RIVR , is a curated stream showcasing contemporary indigenous music, Native cultural programs and podcasts, and features produced by Native youth.

Vision Maker Media is partnering with WORLD Channel, the multicast public television channel available to nearly two-thirds of TV households, to broadcast 45 programs by and about Native people on public media throughout November. Go to to find out more and get the #WORLDxNAHM social media toolkit.