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KERA Celebrates Native American Heritage Month 2017

This November, KERA is proud to celebrate the history, culture and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives with a special collection of films, short stories and resources.




Medicine Woman

Wednesday, November 8 at 10pm
Meet the first Native American doctor and the courageous women following in her footsteps.

Racing the Rez

Wednesday, November 22 at 10pm
Follow five teens living on the Navajo and Hopi reservations 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.


Choctaw Code Talkers

Wednesday, November 22 at 11pm
In 1918, not yet citizens of the United States, Choctaw members of the American Expeditionary Forces were asked to use their Native language as a powerful tool against the German Forces in World War I — setting a precedent for code talking as an effective military weapon and establishing them as America’s original code talkers.



Revisit the following episodes of Think with Krys Boyd:


Broken Promises: Education And Native Americans

Native American students drop out of school at a rate that’s twice the national average. Rebecca Clarren joins host Krys Boyd to talk about how cultural insensitivity, declining federal funding and other factors have led to an educational crisis among American Indians. Her story “How America Is Failing Native American Students” appears in The NationListen here.

The Other Slavery

Slavery is the great stain on American’s history – and while African-Americans bore the brunt of the practice, they weren’t the only ones. Andrés Reséndez joins host Krys Boyd to talk about the tens of thousands of Native Americans who also served as slaves dating back to the times of Columbus. He writes about the topic in Indians at the Center: Rethinking U.S. History and Geography,” sponsored by the UTA Center for Greater Southwestern Studies. Listen here.


KERA On-Demand


LaDonna Harris: Indian 101

Follow the story of Comanche activist Ladonna Harris who led an extensive life of Indian political and social activism and is now passing on her traditional cultural and leadership values to a new generation of emerging Indigenous leaders.

Navajo Math Circles

Learn about the education challenges facing the Navajo Nation, and explore a new approach for improving students’ mathematical skills.

Smokin’ Fish

By turns tragic, bizarre or just plain ridiculous, see the story of one man’s attempts to navigate the messy collision between the modern world and an ancient culture.

We Shall Remain

A groundbreaking mini-series and provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning three hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective.

Across the Creek 

Broken by the legacy of colonialism, the Lakota Tribes struggle for restoration & healing.

Discover more on-demand documentaries and programs from PBS here.


KERA/PBS Resources


midlit11_vid_splchera_l-jpg-resize-710x399The Cherokee Alphabet 

Learn about the story of Sequoyah, a Cherokee man who developed an alphabet for the Cherokee language in 1821, in this video segment adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: “We Shall Remain.”


6db3a897-b838-4ddc-a450-625f340e1fc1_thumb_large-png-resize-710x399POV | Up Heartbreak Hill: Factors in a Successful College Experience — Lesson Plan

In this lesson from POV, students will watch video clips that provide glimpses into the lives of two high school seniors who live in New Mexico on the Navajo reservation.



Native American Civilizations — Portraits

This mini-collection of photographs of Native Americans were individually selected from the prestigious Getty Images collections to help PBS LearningMedia teachers and students discuss Native American History. View the full collection of 150 images, all downloadable for classroom use.


More resources, videos and lesson plans can be found here.