Sometimes artists win awards for unusual projects that don't reflect the rest of their work. Such is the case with Buffy Sainte-Marie, who became the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar in 1983, for her song "Up Where We Belong," which she co-wrote for the film An Officer and a Gentleman, starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger, and Louis Gossett, Jr. (Gossett also won an Oscar for the film, becoming the first Black man to win Best Supporting Actor.) Sainte-Marie is much better-known for her activism, folk music, and art. Discover the rest of her life and career, beyond a simple award, in a new American Masters documentary premiering during Native American Heritage Month on WTTW and PBS. It's just one too-little-known Indigenous story explored in our programming this month.
Learn the heartbreaking, inspiring, and largely untold story of Native Americans in the United States military through their own point of view.
Explore the centuries-old art of horse regalia and how the tradition is being revived and reinterpreted by Dakota communities for a new generation.
American Masters: N. Scott Momaday
Delve into the enigmatic life and mind of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet N. Scott Momaday, best known for House Made of Dawn and a formative voice of the Native American Renaissance in art and literature.
Return: Native American Women Reclaim Foodways for Health and Spirit
Explore the food sovereignty movement occurring across the country through the stories of women championing the return to traditional food sources.
D-Day Warriors: It Was Our War Too
Charles Shay, Penobscot Indian, was just 19 years old when he landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave as a medic on June 6th, 1944. Travelling back to Omaha Beach each year with a delegation of Native American veterans, he honors those who gave their all that day and continues to pave the path to healing across generations and ethnicities.
POV 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.
Travel through 15,000 years to see massive cities, unique systems of science, art, and writing, and 100 million people connected by social networks and spiritual beliefs spanning two continents in a series that reveals some of the most advanced cultures in human history and the Native American people who created it and whose legacy continues, unbroken, to this day.
Roadtrip Nation: Native Way Forward
Follow the journey of three Native young adults as they road-trip across the country and reflect a snapshot of the diversity of cultures and experiences of modern Native youth.
Meet four Native American veterans who reflect on their experiences in the military during the Vietnam War and how their communities helped them carry their warrior legacy, even as they struggled with their relationship to the U.S. government.
Independent Lens—Home from School: The Children of Carlisle
Among the many who died at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, to where Native American children were removed to be educated, were three Northern Arapaho boys. Now, more than a century later, tribal members journey from Wyoming to Pennsylvania to help them finally come home.
Learn more about the documentary from its filmmakers.
Older Than the Crown
Follow the trial of Sinixt tribal member Rick Desautel, who in 2010 was charged with hunting as a non-resident and without a proper permit in Canada. To the Sinixt, hunting on ancestral land is an aboriginal right gifted to them by Creator.
American Masters—Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On
Discover the groundbreaking ascent of Indigenous artist Buffy Sainte-Marie as she rises to prominence in New York's folk music scene and blazes a path as an Oscar-winning singer-songwriter, social activist, educator, and artist.