KCET is honoring Native American Heritage Month in November with several programs that celebrate how Native Americans have shaped the nation. From stories of hardship and triumph to influential leaders and historical events, KCET pays tribute to the vast contributions American Indians have made in enriching our country's identity and cultural heritage.
Friday, Nov. 1 @ 9PM: Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart
This award-winning documentary makes extensive use of Sitting Bull's own words, giving the viewer an intimate portrait of one of America's legendary figures in all his complexities as a leader of the great Sioux Nation. Sitting Bull's words, as portrayed by Adam Fortunate Eagle, dominate the story, augmented by a narrator's historical perspective, including more than 600 historical photographs and images, and a compelling original music score. The film brings to life the little-known human side of Sitting Bull as well as the story of a great man's struggle to maintain his people's way of life against an ever-expanding westward movement of white settlers. It is a powerful cinematic journey into the life and spirit of a legendary figure of whom people have often heard of but don't really know.
Thursday, Nov. 7 @ 10:30PM: Defending the Homeland: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces
From the American Revolution to World Wars I and II to present day Iraq and Afghanistan, Native Americans have a long tradition of participation in the United States military. Their courage, determination, and fighting spirit were recognized by U.S. military leaders as early as the 18th century. Defending the Homeland: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces: is a documentary that brings their stories to life. California's Pala Band of Mission Indians and the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians have an especially illustrious history of military service. This film showcases their emotional battles both overseas as warriors and here at home as veterans.
Sunday, Nov. 10 @ 4:30PM: Choctaw Code Talkers
The Choctaw Soldiers were the original Code Talkers during World War I, a story which has been buried in history for nearly a hundred years. With testimonies from family members and Choctaw tribal leaders, the program brings a unique perspective to these forgotten heroes and their wartime contributions.
Thursday, Nov. 14 @ 10:30PM: Injunuity
Injunuity is a collage of reflections on the Native American world, including our shared past, turbulent present, and 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.' Injunuity is a mix of animation, music, and real thoughts from real people exploring our world from the Native American perspective. Every word spoken is verbatim, every thought and opinion is real, told in nine short pieces and covering such topics as language preservation, sacred sites, and the environment. But rather than simply revisit our history, the goal of Injunuity is to help define our future, to try and figure out the path that lies before us, to focus on where we are going as well as where we have been.
Friday, Nov. 15 @ 9PM: Racing the Rez
For the Navajo and Hopi, running is much more than a sport, it is woven into the cultural fabric of their lives. Encouraged by their elders, many Navajos and Hopis begin running at an early age - to greet the morning sun, to prepare for a ceremony or simply to challenge themselves in the vast, southwestern landscape. In the rugged canyon lands of Northern Arizona, Navajo and Hopi cross-country runners from two rival high schools vie for the state championship while striving to find their place among their native people and the larger American culture. Win or lose, what they learn over the course of two racing seasons has a dramatic effect on the rest of their lives. Combining interviews with verite-style shooting, Racing the Rez offers a rare view into the surprising complexity and diversity of contemporary reservation life, from the point of view of five teenage boys on the cusp of adulthood. The documentary follows Ryan, Dennis, Billy, Johnny and Joyai from the classrooms to their remote, un-electrified homes, from grueling runs across canyons and mesas to their ultimate day of reckoning - the state meet - and beyond.
Friday, Nov. 29 @ 9PM: Apache 8
Apache 8 tells the story of an all-women wildland firefighter crew from the White Mountain Apache Tribe who have been fighting fires in Arizona and throughout the U.S., for more than 30 years. The film delves into the challenging lives of these Native firefighters. Four extraordinary women from different generations of the Apache 8 crew share their personal narratives with humor and tenderness. They speak of hardship and loss, family and community, and pride in being a firefighter from Fort Apache. This documentary weaves together a compelling tale of these remarkable firefighters, revealed for the first time.