ITVS Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

ITVS and PBS offer viewers the opportunity to explore the rich and vibrant history and cultural contributions of Native Americans throughout the year, but this November offers a special slate of new and encore programs in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

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This November, Independent Lens is shining a spotlight on Native American culture with two new films. Premiering Monday, November 18th, Indian Relay documents an unheralded aspect of modern-day Native American life and what it takes to win one of the more exciting forms of horse racing. From the bitter cold of winter to the heat of summer, this lively documentary follows teams from three different tribes as they compete across a grueling season. Then on November 25th, Young Lakota takes viewers to South Dakota, where abortion politics bring political turmoil to the doorstep on the Pine Ridge Reservation and three young idealists, along with the tribe’s first female president, must decide how far they will go to change politics.

Throughout the month, Community Cinema and Women and Girls Lead continues to celebrate Native American Heritage Month by showcasing additional films featuring outstanding women leaders. These documentaries are available on PBS Video and additional online screenings will be offered using OVEE – the social screening platform for watching PBS content and engaging in meaningful discussions around films.

Join Young Lakota filmmaker, Marion Lipschutz, on November 26th for a special encore screening and chat featuring Shirley Sneve, Executive Director of Vision Maker Media. Also available is the 2011 Independent Lens documentary, We Still Live Here, which documents the return of the Wampanoag language. Prompted by linguist Jessie Little Doe, We Still Live Here explores the revival of a language that had no native speakers. The documentary is available to screen here.

Kind Hearted Woman Robin Poor Bear presented a workshop with Women and Girls Lead at the National Women's Studies Association conference on November 9th, 2013.

Kind Hearted Woman Robin Poor Bear presented a workshop with Women and Girls Lead at the National Women’s Studies Association conference on November 9th, 2013.

In addition to Young Lakota and We Still Live Here, Women and Girls Lead also invites viewers to revisit Robin Poor Bear in last year’s Independent Lens/FRONTLINE special, Kind Hearted Woman, the film The New York Times called “a detailed portrait of the kind of lives rarely given a media spotlight.” Viewers can catch the film here and read an update from both Robin and filmmaker Donald Sutherland here.

Lastly, ITVS is excited to support a special transmedia project that highlights unique storytelling from the Native American perspective. Injunuity is a collage of reflections on the Native American world, our shared past, turbulent present, and undiscovered future. In a unique collection of shorts that mix animation, music, and real life thoughts from a distinctly Native American point of view, Injunuity examines topics such as language preservation, sacred sites, and the environment. All five shorts are available to screen here.

Don’t forget to check out the complete PBS Video library, where hundreds of documentaries and videos are available to screen for free online.