Social Studies

In the 1930s, with the United States mired in the Great Depression and teetering on the brink of a second World War, millions of Americans turned to a rope-twirling, plain-talking Cherokee cowboy for clarity, comfort and common sense. His plain-spoken musings, always delivered with a shy, sly smile, influenced the political landscape then and still resonate today. Will Rogers and American Politics reveals how Oklahoma native Will Rogers emerged as one of the most powerful political voices in the United States.

In the rugged canyon lands of Northern Arizona, Navajo and Hopi cross-country runners from two rival high schools put it all on the line for Tribal pride, triumph over adversity and state championship glory. Win or lose, what they learn in the course of their seasons will have a dramatic effect on the rest of their lives.

When you hear the phrase “Native American music” you may not think of tubas, trumpets, and Sousa marches. Yet, this rich musical tradition has been a part of Native American culture for over one hundred years.

The instructional television program, The Oneida Speak, is based in part on oral interviews of Oneida Indian elders in Wisconsin conducted between 1939-1941, as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project sponsored by the federal government. Several stories from these interviews are reenacted in this program, which also includes interviews of contemporary Oneida historians, cultural preservationists, and elders by program producers.

Across the rolling plains of the Midwest, a great nation was created by a people who had their own system of government and a livelihood that was forever changed by settlers and trappers. The Oyate, the people, tell their own history and sustaining culture in this Emmy-nominated, hour-long documentary funded by the South Dakota Education Department.

Indian Country Diaries goes inside modern Native American communities to reveal a diverse people working to revitalize their culture while improving the social, physical, and spiritual health of their people.

Grab is an intimate portrait of the little-documented Grab Day in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, who annually throw water and food items from the rooftop of a home to people standing below them. A community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks and renewal, Grab Day exists at the intersection of traditional Native and contemporary Western cultures.

Once a star athlete in his community, Beau LeBeau (Oglala Lakota) now weighs 333 pounds--an unhealthy weight which has triggered the onset of Type II Diabetes. His mother's untimely death from complications due to cancer and diabetes motivates him to drop the excessive pounds. Enlisting the help of physician Dr. Kevin Weiland and nutritionist Kibbe Conti (Oglala Lakota), Beau starts exercising and takes up a traditional Lakota diet of buffalo meat and other Native foods.

Four Inuit athletes travel throughout Alaska competing in the ancestral games of strength. Acrobatic and explosive, these sports are vital for survival in the frigid, hostile Arctic. As waves of change sweep across their traditional lands, their role is stronger than ever.

In the Alaska Purchase of 1867 the United States took on more than just the land. There were indigenous people living everywhere in Alaska. Like Native Americans in the lower 48, Alaska Natives struggled to keep their basic human rights as well as protect their ancient ties to the land. The Bill of Rights did not apply to them. Through extensive reenactments and rarely seen historic footage and photographs, 'For the Rights of All' reveals these remarkable people and their non-violent struggle for civil rights.

Columbus Day Legacy explores the quintessential American issues of free speech and ethnic pride against the backdrop of the ongoing Columbus Day parade controversy in Denver, Colorado. Navajo filmmaker Bennie Klain takes viewers into this very personal yet very public conflict, asking tough questions about identity and history in America.

In 1918, not yet citizens of the United States, Choctaw Tribal members of the American Expeditionary Forces were asked to use their Native language as a powerful tool against the German Forces in World War I setting a precedent for code talking as an effective military tool and establishing them as America’s original code talkers.


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