Public TV Honors Native American Heritage Month

November 3, 2017

The Mayors of Shiprock


Documentary films presenting rich and varied stories of the Native American experience are premiering, airing and streaming on public television this month, Native American Heritage Month.

Two documentaries focusing on Native American youth, supported by CPB through Vision Maker Media, are making their public television debuts on WORLD Channel, a 24/7 multicast public television channel airing in more than 60 percent of the U.S. (check local listings).

The Mayors of Shiprock/Vision Maker Media

The Mayors of Shiprock follows a group of young Navajo leaders in Shiprock, N.M., who meet weekly to decide how they will help their community while individually weighing their options both on and off the reservation (premiering on Local: USA at 8 pm Eastern/7 Central on Monday, November 6). 

On a Knife Edge/Vision Maker Media

On a Knife Edge is the coming-of-age story of George Dull Knife, a Lakota teenager growing up on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. The film traces George’s path to activism, focused on shutting down the liquor stores in Whiteclay, a tiny town nearby that exists only to sell beer to the reservation’s vulnerable population (premiering on America: ReFramed at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central on Tuesday, November 7).

These two premieres are among the 35 documentaries on the past, present and future for Native Americans in the country airing on WORLD Channel this month. Documentaries by and about Native Americans are also airing on local PBS stations (check local listings), with five films made with CPB funding through Vision Maker Media streaming on through November 30:

  • Across the Creek explores the dreams and the reality of Lakota people from South Dakota who are turning around negative history and reclaiming traditional stories, visions and core values that once effectively guided healthy, productive tribal life.
  • LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 tells the story of Comanche activist Ladonna Harris, who led an extensive life of Indian political and social activism and is now passing on her traditional cultural and leadership values to a new generation of emerging indigenous leaders.
  • Medicine Woman profiles Native American female doctors who carry on a tradition of serving their people, raising their families and holding on to their tribal identities.
  • Navajo Math Circles follows Navajo students who stay after school and assemble over the summer at Diné College in Tsaile, Ariz., to study mathematics through math circles, which put children in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction.
  • Smokin’ Fish documents a Tlingit man who decides to spend the summer preparing traditional Tlingit smoked salmon, forcing him to navigate the clash between modernity and an ancient culture.