Storytellers from each of the 11 sovereign nations located in Wisconsin — and one nation whose sovereign status is no longer recognized by the federal government — share the unique histories of their people and communities in the Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) series of Tribal Histories documentaries.
Each nation's history is explored in individual 30-minute programs. The three final programs from the series — featuring representatives from the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe, Mole Lake Ojibwe and St. Croix Ojibwe — air on WPT 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Dec. 14, 21 and 28, and will also be available to stream online at wpt.org.
Recorded in the beautiful natural settings of the regions that native people have called home for centuries, the programs feature rich retellings of the challenges, triumphs and time-honored traditions that have shaped their vibrant communities across generations.
"When you hear the word ‘history,' you don't know what to expect," said series producer Mik Derks. "What you expect is not what you're going to get. We asked, ‘How would you tell your story?' ‘What would you want people to know about your people and your history?'"
WPT's Tribal Histories project is part of Wisconsin's Act 31 Initiative: the statutory requirement that all school districts provide instruction in the history, culture and tribal sovereignty of the American Indian nations in the state. Educational resources are available online at WisconsinFirstNations.org.
Support for Tribal Histories is provided by Irene Daniell Kress, the Francis A. and Georgia F. Ariens Fund of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Evjue Foundation, Ron and Patty Anderson, the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, Timothy William Trout Education Fund, the Wisconsin History Fund supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities; and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.
About Wisconsin Act 31 Coalition Partners: This network of organizations in Wisconsin are dedicated to the development of resources and implementation of Wisconsin Act 31. The Act 31 Coalition partners include WPT Education, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Indian Education Association, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, the Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay First Nation Studies, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and University of Wisconsin-Extension.
Wisconsin Public Television is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA- TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.