Grades 7-9

What does it take for a contemporary Native family to thrive on their reservation? Badger Creek is a portrait of Native resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on the reservation in Montana. The loving and sober Momberg family members run a successful ranch, live a traditional worldview and are relearning their language.

Lake of Betrayal looks at the Seneca Nation’s fight to protect its sovereignty against a backdrop of a federal Indian Termination policy, pork-barrel politics, and undisclosed plans for private hydro-power generation. The documentary takes a long view of the imposed changes on the Seneca’s way of life that have led to major economic benefits and irreplaceable cultural losses.

Medicine Woman, interweaves the lives of Native American women healers of today with the story of America’s first Native doctor, Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1915). The one-hour PBS documentary produced by and about women, features historic and contemporary profiles of female healers, starting with Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1915) of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. 

Ishi’s Return is a half-hour film about Ishi, billed in 1911 as the “last wild Indian,” when he wandered out of the woods in Oroville, California, and became a national sensation. When Ishi died, his brain was removed and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Navajo Math Circles follows Navajo students in a lively collaboration with mathematicians. Using a model called math circles, the students stay late after school and assemble over the summer at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona, to study mathematics. The math circles approach emphasizes student-centered learning by putting children in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction.

For over 50 years, archaeologist Dr. Douglas Anderson, of Brown University, studied the Iñupiaq Natives of Northwestern Alaska. When one of the last excavations of his career shuts down due to the discovery of human remains, he must rely on the relationships he has built with the Iñupiaq. Policy dictates that archaeological excavations on National Park Service land must stop when remains are found and all living descendants be notified. Are the relationships between Anderson and the Iñupiaq based purely on his own academic pursuits?

SOL explores the death of a young Inuk man, Solomon Tapatiaq Uyarasuk, who is found dead in an RCMP detachment in a remote Inuit community. The locals suspect murder, but the police suggest suicide. As the documentary investigates the truth to Solomon’s death it sheds light on the underlying social issues of Canada’s North that has resulted in this region claiming one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world.

The first film to document the story of Michigan's Native Americans in the Civil War who served in Company K of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. During the Civil War a regiment of sharpshooters was being recruited to fight for the Union. Since Michigan's Native Americans were famous as skilled hunters, it was decided to recruit one company--Company K--from among the tribes in Michigan. Nearly 140 men volunteered for Company K in the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters regiment.

The efforts of one dying woman to preserve her Native culture don’t end when she passes, but prompts a renewal in finding pride in that culture. She confronts the violent event over two centuries ago that began the destruction of her people and the shame that colonialism created.

The film Across the Creek is the story of the Lakota tribe in South Dakota, and their struggle to reclaim their culture through language, dance, working with the land, and participating in cultural activities.

A Comanche from Oklahoma, LaDonna helped convince the Nixon administration to return sacred ground to the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, in 1970 founded the Americans for Indian opportunity and became a vice-presidential nominee in 1980.

Please note: The time codes referenced in the educational guide correspond to the broadcast and PBS Online Video versions of this documentary.

Indian Relay follows multiple teams from different tribes as they compete throughout the Indian Relay season. Many of the teams consist of families with Indian Relay roots stretching back generations. Bragging rights and money are at stake for the teams that compete in the Indian Relay circuit.

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