Native American Studies

This exciting and compelling one hour documentary invites viewers into the lives of contemporary Native American role models living in the Midwest. It dispels the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the American horizon, and reveals how they continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society. Their experiences will deeply touch both Natives and non-Natives and help build bridges of understanding, respect, and communication.

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.

Legendary as one of America's greatest horse tribes, the 21st century Nez Perce decided to bring horses back to their land and lives with the unlikely help of a charismatic Navajo horseman, Rudy Shebala.

A celebration of Native American Plateau art and culture, the film emphasizes the origin and remarkable survival of the art form and culture as experienced by Native Plateau bead artists.

Injunuity is a collage of reflections on the Native American world, our shared past, our turbulent present, and our undiscovered future. From Columbus to the western expansion to tribal casinos, we are taught that the Native way, while at times glorious, is something of the past, something that needed to be replaced by a manifest destiny from across the ocean. But in a world increasingly short of real answers, it is time we looked to Native wisdom for guidance. It is time for some Injunuity.

Urban Rez explores the controversial legacy and modern-day repercussions of the Urban Relocation Program (1952-1973), the greatest voluntary upheaval of Native Americans during the 20th century. During the documentary, dozens of American Indians representing tribal groups from across the West recall their first-hand experiences with relocation, including the early hardships, struggles with isolation and racism.

Young Lakota follows the emotional journey of Sunny Clifford, a young Lakota woman who returns to the Pine Ridge Reservation with a dream to change the world around her. Her political awakening begins when the tribe’s first female president, Cecelia Fire Thunder, defies a South Dakota law banning abortion by threatening to build a women’s clinic on the reservation.

Join Global Explorer, Chris Bashinelli, on an introspective adventure through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Embark on a life-changing buffalo harvest, get schooled by a women’s basketball team, be inspired by a 14-year-old suicide prevention activist, and watch Chris shove his arm shoulder-deep up a cow’s backside while trying to better understand employment on the Reservation. With humor and pathos, he uncovers stories of hope and learns how Lakota culture has prevailed in the face of adversity. 

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.

A sincere admiration of Native culture gives way to this charming documentary about a small group of French citizens—called “Savy Western”—who share a passion for everything Native American. Every weekend, they dress in Native regalia and make appearances at various village fairs alongside their countrymen in France.

Two brothers from the Onondaga Nation pursue their dreams of playing lacrosse for Syracuse University. With the dream nearly in reach, the boys are caught in a constant struggle to define their Native identity, live-up to their family's expectations and balance challenges on and off the Reservation.

In 1877, the Ponca people were exiled from their Nebraska homeland to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. To honor his dying son's last wish to be buried in his homeland, Chief Standing Bear set off on a grueling, six-hundred-mile journey home.

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