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On TV: Native American Heritage Month — November 2020

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Still from Independent Lens' "Conscience Point"

KQED is proud to celebrate Native American Heritage Month starting in November with a special TV programming lineup. Premiere dates are listed below. 


Sun, 11/1
6pm Two-Spirit Powwow
A documentary that follows the evolution of the annual powwow from its modest inaugural event seven years ago to the huge powwows of recent years held at the Cow Palace and Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

Mon, 11/2
11pm We’re Still Here (NEW)
Through their music and work in communities and schools, First Nation indigenous hip-hop artists in Canada lead an effort to right long standing social injustices, heal personal traumas, and preserve their cultures.

Still from "Warrior Tradition"

Tues, 11/3
11pm Warrior Tradition
Learn the heartbreaking, inspiring and largely untold story of Native Americans in the United States military. This film relates the stories of Native American warriors from their own points of view -- stories of service, pain, courage and fear.

Sat, 11/7
6pm Roadtrip Nation: Single Mom's Story (NEW)
Follow along as Gabby, Kiera, and Maliaq—three single moms eager to explore how to find meaningful careers and navigate post-secondary success—travel across the country to talk with other single mothers who’ve found fulfilling work as microbiologists, professors, authors, artists, and more.


Sun, 11/8
6pm Without a Whisper: Konnon: Kwe (NEW)
Without a Whisper: Konnon: Kwe is the untold story of the profound influence of Indigenous women on the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

Sun, 11/15
6pm Saving the Sacred (NEW)
The Koi and Habemetol Pomo have called the majestic Clear Lake basin home for an incredible 14,000 years. However, rapid urbanization and the looting of artifacts for sale on illegal markets has threatened to completely erase their long history and rich culture from this unique landscape. In an effort to protect these sacred sites, the tribes unite with their local governments and communities to preserve their priceless culture and past.


Sun, 11/1
11:30pm Koo-Hoot Kiwat: The Caddo Grass House
A Caddo tribal elder and his apprentice return to their ancestral homeland in East Texas to direct the construction of a traditional grass house.

Still from "Growing Native: Growing Native Northwest -- Coast Salish"

Fri, 11/6
Noon Growing Native: Growing Native Northwest—Coast Salish
Discover the resilience of the Coast Salish Tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Travel down historic waterways as the tribe revisits their ancient connection to the water with an annual canoe journey. Experience both traditional and contemporary arts and meet the tribal members that are bringing Camas, a traditional root, back to harvest

11pm La Loche (NEW)
In January 2016, a school shooting in the remote Canadian aboriginal community of La Loche, Saskatchewan took the lives of four students and injured seven others. In the aftermath, a caring teacher, worried about eight boys directly affected by the shooting, contacted a TV celebrity the students admired.

She hoped that Survivorman star Les Stroud might spend time with the students. The film follows Stroud, the eight young Dené men, and several community and school elders on a wilderness adventure, in which they canoe down a 100-mile river path that their ancestors used to traverse.

Sat, 11/7
7am P.O.V.: Tribal Justice 
In Tribal Justice, two Native American judges reach back to traditional concepts of justice in order to reduce incarceration rates, foster greater safety for their communities and create a more positive future for youth. By addressing the root causes of crime, they are modeling restorative systems that are working. Mainstream courts across the country begin to take notice. 

8:30am Native Art Now!
Native Art Now! is a documentary that examines the evolution of Native contemporary art over the last 25 years, presenting personal perspectives from internationally acclaimed Native contemporary artists.

Still from "N. Scott Momaday: American Masters"

9:30am N. Scott Momaday: American Masters 
The documentary delves into the psyche behind the celebrated author and visually captures the essence of Momaday’s writings. Original animation, historical photos and aerial landscapes complement interviews with indigenous authors Rilla Askew (“Fire in Beulah”) and Joy Harjo, the first Native American United States Poet Laureate; actors Robert Redford, Jeff Bridges, Beau Bridges and James Earl Jones; and Richard West, founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, to reveal Momaday’s creative core.

11:30pm Skindigenous: Los Angeles
Two Ravens is an Opata tattoo artist based in East Los Angeles. As an activist, he was injured at Standing Rock while defending land rights in North Dakota. He continues to use his art to unite and help Indigenous Americans in L. A. and across the U.S. reclaim their origins.

Tues, 11/10
Noon The Horse Relative (NEW)
The Horse Relative features the historic art of horse regalia and how it is being revived and reinterpreted by Lakota, Nakota and Dakota communities. Artists James Star Comes Out and Keith Braveheart of the Oglala Lakota tribe of South Dakota collaborated with Pioneer PBS of Granite Falls and Dakota Wicohan of Morton to create this documentary which shares stories of Native lives with the sacred horse and the centuries-old tradition of dressing horses for ceremonies and celebrations.

Fri, 11/13
Noon Growing Native: Growing Native Alaska—People of the North
All across Alaska, Native cultures have depended on the abundant natural resources found there to support their families, cultures and ways of life. Now, however, those resources are growing scarce, and the people who have relied on them for centuries have to find new ways to adapt. "Growing Native" visits some of the many communities engaged in this familiar struggle - the struggle to maintain their traditions and ways of life, while continuing to thrive in a constantly changing world.

Sat, 11/14
7am Warrior Women
Warrior Women is the untold story of American Indian Movement activists who fought for civil rights in the '70s, anchored by one of the Red Power Movement's most outspoken Lakota leaders, Madonna Thunder Hawk, and her daughter Marcy Gilbert.

8am First Language: The Race to Save Cherokee 
In First Language the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians fight to save their native language, a vessel of knowledge and heritage for the Cherokee people.

9am Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims & Tourists
Around the world, indigenous communities stand in the way of government megaprojects. In the Russian Republic of Altai, traditional native people create their own mountain parks to rein in tourism and resist a gas pipeline that would cut through a World Heritage Site. In northern California, Winnemem Wintu girls grind herbs on a sacred medicine rock, as elders protest U.S. government plans to enlarge one of the West’s biggest dams and forever submerge this touchstone of a tribe.

10am Standing on Sacred Ground: Profit & Loss
'Profit and Loss' tells the stories of two indigenous groups and their resistance to the modern gold rush - our insatiable thirst for mineral resources that threatens their lands. In Papua New Guinea, villagers resist forced relocation by a nickel mine and try to stop its plan to dump mining waste into the sea. In Canada, First Nations people protest the destruction of traditional hunting and fishing grounds by the tar sands industry, which brings jobs, but also may be causing cancer.

11:30pm Sousa on the Rez: Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum
Sousa on the Rez: Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum is a half-hour documentary that looks at the vibrant but little known tradition of brass band music in Indian Country

Sun, 11/15
11pm Mankiller 
Learn about the legacy of Wilma Mankiller, who overcame sexism to emerge as the Cherokee Nation's first woman Principal Chief.

Fri, 11/20
Noon Growing Native: Growing Native Great Lakes: Turtle Island
Over the centuries, the Great Lakes have been home to hundreds tribes and a source of fresh water, food, and health. Indigenous creation stories describe the world came into being on a back of a turtle shell, and today they know the earth as Turtle Island. "Growing Native" host Stacey Thunder (Red Lake and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe) guides this journey by engaging tribal voices while touring Indian country with those who still devote their lives to care for the land.

3pm P.O.V. Shorts: Water Warriors 
When an energy company begins searching for natural gas in New Brunswick, Canada, indigenous and white families unite to drive out the company in a campaign to protect their water and way of life.

Fri, 11/27
Noon Growing Native: Growing Native Oklahoma—Red People
Oklahoma is home to thirty-nine federally recognized tribes. Nowhere in North America will you find such diversity among Native Peoples, and nowhere will you find a more tragic history. Host Moses Brings Plenty (Oglala Lakota) guides this episode of "Growing Native," on a journey to Oklahoma's past and present. What he discovers among the many faces of Oklahoma culture is the determination, values and respect that tribes have brought to this land, once called Indian Territory.


Sun, 11/1
6pm Racing the Rez 
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 personal 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.

Focusing on five teens living on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, Racing the Rez unfolds over two years of careful, patient observation, and offers a rare view into the surprising complexity and diversity of contemporary reservation life.

Mon, 11/2
4pm And Now We Rise: A Portrait of Samuel Johns
"And Now We Rise" is a portrait of Samuel Johns, a young Athabaskan hip hop artist, founder of the Forget Me Not Facebook Group for displaced people in Alaska, and activist for a cultural renaissance as he heals from his own legacy of historical trauma.

6pm Local, USA: The Seven Generation River
In a time when America’s natural resources are caught in the crossfire of deep divisions between Americans, the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians from the southwest corner of the Great Lakes might hold the key to healing our divisions, healing nature and healing ourselves.

Still from Independent Lens' "Dawnland"

Tues, 11/3
4pm Independent Lens: Dawnland
They were forced to assimilate into white society: children ripped away from their families, depriving them of their culture and erasing their identities. Can reconciliation help heal the scars from childhoods lost? Dawnland is the untold story of Indigenous child removal in the US through the nation's first-ever government-endorsed truth and reconciliation commission, which investigated the devastating impact of Maine’s child welfare practices on the Wabanaki people.

5pm America ReFramed: Moroni for President  
Every four years, the Navajo Nation elects its president, whom many consider the most powerful Native American. Moroni Benally, a witty LGBTQ candidate with radical ideas, hopes to defeat the incumbent president. Fraught with challenges, Moroni soon discovers that theory and a platform does not necessarily prepare you for the daily dirt of politics and the unpredictability of voter’s choice.

6pm Local, USA: The Mayors of Shiprock
Meet the Mayors of Shiprock – that’s what some people call The Northern Diné Youth Committee. These young Navajo leaders meet every week to learn about their Native culture, discuss community improvements, and work to bridge divides within their community. Some on the reservation say they don’t have the traditional knowledge and language needed to be real leaders…but the Mayors are not stopping.

Wed, 11/4
5:30pm Independent Lens: Conscience Point
Beneath the mystique of The Hamptons, among the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S., lies the history of the area's original inhabitants, the Shinnecock Indian Nation, who were edged off their land over the course of hundreds of years, relocated to an impoverished reservation, and condemned to watch their sacred burial grounds plowed to make way for mega-mansions and marquee attractions like the exclusive Shinnecock Hills Golf Club--five-time host of the U.S. Open and literally carved out of a sacred Shinnecock burial ground.

Fri, 11/6
4pm Rising Voices: Hothaninpi  
Before Christopher Columbus and his fellow Europeans arrived in North America, there were nearly 300 Native languages spoken north of Mexico. Today only half of those languages remain and experts say that by the year 2050, just 20 indigenous American languages will exist. RISING VOICES/HOTȞANINPI is a one-hour documentary about how languages die – and how speaking them again can spark cultural and community restoration.

5pm Keep Talking  
With less than 40 fluent Elder speakers remaining, the Alutiiq language is at risk. Four Alaska Native women discover language revitalization offers complex challenges and unique, potentially life-saving rewards.

Sun, 11/8
6pm Medicine Game  
A film six years in the making, shares the remarkable journey of two brothers from the Onondoga Nation driven by a single goal-to beat the odds and play the sport of lacrosse for national powerhouse Syracuse University. The Onondaga Nation, tucked away in central New York State, is a sovereign Native American community known to produce some of the top lacrosse players in the world.

Fri, 11/13
5pm The People’s Protectors
Four Native American veterans reflect on their experiences in the military during the divisive Vietnam War and how their communities helped them carry their warrior legacy proudly. From the Marine Corps to the Navy to the US Army veterans Valerie Barber, Art Owen, Sandy White Hawk, Vince Beyl, and civilian eyapaha (announcer) Jerry Dearly recall their memories of one of the most controversial wars in United States history. Even as they struggled with their relationship to the United States government from genocidal policies and government oppression; the Dakota, Lakota, and Ojibwe warriors still felt compelled to honor their duty to their people as Akichita | Ogichidaag | Warriors, as protectors of the people. A lifetime later, these soldiers meet us in the studio as they begin to tell their stories.

Sun, 11/15
6pm Tending Nature: Protecting the Coast with the Tolowa Dee-Ni
Today many California coastal ecosystems are under threat from human caused toxification of our oceans caused by industrial and residential development. This episode journeys to the Smith River near the Oregon border to discover how the Tolowa Dee-ni' are reviving traditional harvesting of shellfish such as mussels, and in the process, working to redefine managing marine protected areas.

6:30pm Tending Nature: Decolonizing Cuisine with Mak’Amham
The entire American populace is “food-washed”, we are eating mass produced products that are often pumped full of harmful chemicals or are genetically modified. Even “organic” certification is being revised and caught in fraud to include non-organic processes. This episode explores how two Ohlone chefs Louis Trevino and Vincent Medina are revitalizing Ohlone language, food practices and adapting them for a modernist palate.

8pm Red Power Energy
From a historically passive role in mineral extraction that frequently left their resource-rich reservations either leased out for pennies on the dollar or contaminated by environmental degradation and Federal mismanagement, Native people are in the midst of an extraordinary resurgence. They are challenging long-held stereotypes, fighting for the sovereign right to control their lands and develop their natural and mineral resources – however they choose. RED POWER ENERGY is a provocative film told from the American Indian perspective that reframes today's complex energy debate.

Mon, 11/16
4pm Art of Home: A Wind River Story  
Two indigenous artists create new works reflecting on their tribal homelands, the Wind River Indian Reservation. Ken Williams (Arapaho) is a Santa Fe art celebrity and Sarah Ortegon (Shoshone) is an up-and-coming actress in Denver. Both artists travel to Wind River Reservation to reconnect with their ancestors and present their art work to a somewhat isolated community.

Still from Independent Lens' "What Was Ours"

Tues, 11/17
4pm Independent Lens: What Was Ours
Like millions of indigenous people, many Native American tribes do not control their own material history and culture. For the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes living on the isolated Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, new contact with lost artifacts risks opening old wounds but also offers the possibility for healing. What Was Ours is the story of how a young journalist and a teenage powwow princess, both of the Arapaho tribe, traveled together with a Shoshone elder in search of missing artifacts in the vast archives of Chicago's Field Museum. There they discover a treasure trove of ancestral objects, setting them on a journey to recover what has been lost and build hope for the future.

5pm America ReFramed: Blood Memory (NEW)
As political scrutiny over Native child welfare intensifies, an adoption survivor helps others find their way back home through song and ceremony. Blood Memory is a documentary that deals with the sinister eras of American history that attempted to culturally assimilate Native people through the removal of their children.

6pm Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools  
This film takes a moving and insightful look into the history, operation, and legacy of the federal Indian Boarding School system, whose goal was total assimilation of Native Americans at the cost of stripping away Native culture, tradition, and language.

Fri, 11/20
4pm Sand Creek Massacre  
What would lead approximately 675 volunteer soldiers to attack a peaceful settlement of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians in southeastern Colorado Territory? On November 29, 1864, Colonel John Chivington led a group to do just that, resulting in the deaths of over one hundred men, women and children. This episode revisits the horrific events and uncovers the history 150 years later.

Sun, 11/22
6pm Tending Nature: Tribal Hunting with the Pit River Peoples
The industrialized production of meat products has created numerous health issues: it has separated us from the animals it comes from, it is often inhumanely grown, and it is often filled with chemical additives. This episode explores how members of the Pit River Tribe in Northeast California are reviving traditional hunting practices, embracing Community Science initiatives to preserve and monitor wild elk and deer populations; as well as developing statewide intertribal trading networks for the distribution of humanely sourced and sustainable Native foods.

6:30pm Tending Nature: Healing the Body with United Indian Health Service   
While “Food Deserts” is a term used by many to describe urban areas without access to fresh food, this issue is not just one that inner city areas are struggling with. Native peoples in rural areas often lack easy access to healthy, affordable food and a younger generation is witnessing the effects of health issues in their community. As a result, they have started several food sovereignty programs across California. The most prominent of these is in Arcata, CA at UIHS’ Potawot Community Garden which is serving as an inspiration for other initiatives across California.

8:30pm Badger Creek
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.

Mon, 11/23
6pm Local, USA: The Blackfeet Flood
More than fifty years after a devastating flood, Butch New Breast returns home to face the ghosts of his past. In 1964, Swift Dam broke and swept through Montana’s Blackfeet Reservation - uprooting homes, killing dozens, and signaling the end of a way of life for many Native families. It is the worst disaster in the history of the state. Half a century later, Butch confronts the tragedy that left him orphaned at 14, and tries to remember “what it means to be Blackfeet.”

Still from "Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian"

Tues, 11/24
4pm Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian   
“Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian” is a deeply personal family film that follows Kate Bean, and urban, Dakota scholar, and her family as they trace the remarkable life of their celebrated relative, Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman), an important author, activist, lecturer and one of the first Native American doctors.

5pm America ReFramed: The Blessing (NEW)
The story of a Navajo coal miner raising his secretive daughter as a single father, struggling with his part in the irreversible destruction of their sacred mountain at the hands of America's largest coal producer. The Blessing is co-directed by Hunter Robert Baker and Jordan Fein. Captured over the course of five years, the filmmakers join a Navajo family for some of the most deeply personal and important moments in the character's lives, from a miner enduring a life threatening injury and confronting the deep spiritual sacrifice he makes to provide for his family.


Wed, 11/25
4pm Our American Family: The Kurowskis  
"Our American Family: The Kurowskis" presents the story of a woman born and raised on the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin married to the son of Polish immigrants. At the time, Native Americans had been pressured to forsake their heritage and assimilate into the culture of their white neighbors. Following a tragedy at a paper mill, the Kurowski family moves to the center of the reservation where their selflessness strengthens the community and prepares the next generation to support their Oneida heritage.

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