illustration/painting of a First Nations person kneeling by water

PBS Wisconsin Honors Native American Heritage Month

October 28, 2020 Alyssa Beno Leave a Comment

Every November, Americans celebrate Native American Heritage Month – also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. This commemoration recognizes the accomplishments of our country’s original inhabitants, explorers and settlers.

Its designation in November aligns with the conclusion of the traditional harvest season, and encourages the general public’s education about tribes, the unique challenges Native people have faced in the past and present, and the ways they have worked to overcome these challenges.

PBS Wisconsin invites you to learn more about Native peoples with the following programs, airing this month and streaming online, anytime, at


Independent Lens: Dawnland

11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2

See how a group of Native and non-Native leaders in Maine came together to acknowledge and address the abuses suffered by Native children in the hands of the child welfare system. PBS Wisconsin Passport members – watch the full episode online here.

American Masters: N. Scott Momaday

10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4

Examine the enigmatic life and mind of National Medal of Arts-winner Navarro Scott Momaday, the Kiowa novelist, short-story writer, essayist and poet. PBS Wisconsin Passport members – watch the full episode online here.

Return to Rainy Mountain

11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4

Navarro Scott Momaday, recipient of the first Pulitzer Prize for Fiction awarded to a Native American writer, and his daughter, filmmaker Jill Momaday Gray, take viewers on a modern-day road trip loosely based on his Kiowa nation’s ancestral myths and legends.


PBS Wisconsin Documentaries

Ma’iingan: Brother Wolf

With insight from Ojibwe elders, biologists and artist Rabbett Before Horses Strickland, this film captures enduring spiritual connections with Brother Wolf, the lasting bonds and responsibilities shared between Native people and the wolf species, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the reintroduction and protection of the animals across reservation lands.

Rabbett Before Horses

Ojibwe artist Rabbett Before Horses Strickland first shared his extraordinary work with PBS Wisconsin viewers in the documentary Ma’iingan: Brother Wolf. This new documentary highlights the work of this talented Wisconsin artist, musician and theoretical mathematician, whose paintings reflect the culture of his community.

Tribal Histories

Tribal Histories features tribal storytellers sharing the culture and oral traditions that have shaped their communities across generations.

In order of production:
Ojibwe History
Potawatomi History
Menominee History
Oneida History
Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican History
Bad River Ojibwe History
Ho-Chunk History
Red Cliff Ojibwe History
Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe History
Brothertown History
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe History
Mole Lake Ojibwe History
St. Croix History

University Place

Ada Deer: Making a Difference

Ada Deer, author of “Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice,” Theda Perdue, a professor emerita from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Larry Nesper, the director of American Indian Studies at UW-Madison, discuss Deer’s life from the Menominee Reservation to serving as the assistant secretary of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children’s Books

Debbie Reese, founder of the “American Indians in Children’s Literature” blog, discusses the portrayal of Native Americans in children’s literature. Reese focuses on the stereotypes depicted in the books from the 1960s through present day.

Indian Mounds of Wisconsin

Robert Birmingham, co-author of “Indian Mounds of Wisconsin,” provides an overview of the effigy mounds, created by American Indians. Birmingham contends that the mounds model the Native American belief system and their relationship with the spirit world.

Rebel Poet

Louis V. Clark III, the author of “Rebel Poet: More Stories from a 21st Century Indian,” shares his poems which touch on discrimination, addiction, the struggle for community and the comfort of family.

The Life and Times of Indian Agent John Kinzie

Peter Shrake, author of “The Silver Man: The Life and Times of Indian Agent John Kinzie,” discusses John Kinzie’s life and his interactions with Native Americans in the mid-1800s. Shrake explores the history of the Midwest through Kinzie’s experiences.

How Wisconsin Indian Tribes Got Their Casinos

Jim Oberly, professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, explains tribal sovereignty and provides an historical perspective on how Wisconsin’s 11 federally recognized Native American tribes opened casinos in the state.

Visions and Voices

Hear the history and stories passed down by Roberta Hill as she tells of her grandparents, Charles Abram Hill and Dr. Lillie Rosa Minoka-Hill.

Picturing Indians

Hear a Ho-Chunk perspective on Steven Hoelscher’s “Picturing Indians: Photographic Encounters and Tourist Fantasies.” The book examines H. H. Bennett’s work and the Ho-Chunk people he photographed in the Wisconsin Dells area.

Cancer Health Disparities in American Indians

Learn about the Walking Forward project from Daniel G. Petereit. The project addresses cancer disparities in the American Indians in western South Dakota. Petereit also discusses the Cancer Disparity Research Partnership project, its key elements, the five-year results and the funding.

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