Ethnic Studies

The first documentary feature to chronicle the legendary accomplishments and mysterious life of the famed Cherokee Renaissance man, Sequoyah. While much is known about Sequoyah and his many accomplishments, we know very little about the man himself. The greatest mystery is not how he created the Cherokee syllabary, but rather the details of his final journey to Mexico and the circumstances of his death.

Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining and insightful look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Traveling through the heartland of America, Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the world's understanding--and misunderstanding--of Natives.

Learn how building a traditional Sugpiaq kayak can help maintain and invigorate a language, a culture, and a way of knowing the land and ocean. When Sugpiaq children add their knowledge and energy to the work of elders, scholars, hunters, fishermen, and boat builders in one of the most remote areas of Kodiak Island, the result is a sense of optimism and strength. Traditional knowledge and scientific ways of knowing join forces to create layers of understanding and belonging.

Amidst the echoes of genocide, an unprecedented truth commission attempts to heal the wounds of a foster care system devastating Native American families in DAWNLAND. A documentary about cultural survival and stolen children: inside the first truth and reconciliation commission for Native Americans.

Sandy White Hawk’s story of adoption is not of saving an orphan, but of creating one. At 18-months she was removed from her Sicangu Lakota relatives and taken to live with missionaries, a traumatic experience she later found to be part of a federally-funded assimilative movement that targeted American Indian children.

This documentary explores the mythic and historic roots of contemporary gambling in the Northwest Native Society through a look at the traditional hand game (also called "stick game" or "bone game"). Traveling from reservation to reservation and meeting engaging and colorful players, the filmmakers show how traditional ways of thinking are alive today in Indian country. An inside view of an ancient form of gambling that combines strategy, wit and skill.

In the Beginning was Water and Sky is a short-form New Media project that tells two parallel stories about a Chippewa boy who runs away from an Indian Boarding School in the 1950s and a Chippewa girl who runs away from her village in the 1700s.

Watch online: http://www.pbs.org/indiefilms/shorts/beginning-was-water-and-sky/

"Ohero:kon - Under the Husk" is a documentary that follows the challenging journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk Women. Kaienkwinehtha and Kasennakohe are childhood friends from traditional families living in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne that straddles the U.S./Canada border. They both take part in a four-year adolescent passage rites ceremony called ohero:kon "under the husk" that has been revived in their community.

MANKILLER explores the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation who led her people in building one of the strongest Indian Tribes in America. More than a biography, the program delivers an empowering message. 

Injunuity 2 is a half-hour documentary made up of nine short films using a mix of animation, music, and real Native voices. Together, the pieces create a thought-provoking collage of reflections on modern America from a contemporary Native perspective.

This series shares contemporary stories about Native peoples to educate and entertain viewers, empower Indigenous peoples and bridge culture gaps. It seeks to shatter stereotypes, promote positivity and show the world who we really are.

An Eastern Shoshone Elder and two Northern Arapaho youth living on the Wind River Indian Reservation attempt to learn why thousands of ancestral artifacts are in the darkness of underground archives of museums and churches, boxed away and forgotten. Like millions of indigenous people in many parts of the world, they do not control their own material culture. It is being preserved, locked away, by ‘outsiders’ who themselves do not know what they have.

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