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Native Americans

A Q&A with an Expert Featured in Ken Burns' 'American Buffalo'

Daniel Hautzinger

The latest Ken Burns documentary tells the story of the United States’ national mammal, The American Buffalo. We spoke to an environmental historian and ethnobotanist who is also an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and Métis and featured in the film.

Native American Heritage Month 2022 on WTTW

Daniel Hautzinger

Among WTTW's Native American Heritage Month programming is a new documentary of the Indigenous musician, artist, and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, plus films that explore the varied experience, present, and past of Native Americans. 

An Exploration of Native American History in Chicago with Geoffrey Baer

Geoffrey Baer

Discover places around Chicago that contain vestiges of Native American history in the region before the arrival of Europeans and show how contemporary Native Americans continue to shape the city.

How the "Chickasaw Classical Composer" Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate Draws on North American Indian Culture

Daniel Hautzinger

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, who scored two recent WTTW documentaries, uses Chickasaw and other North American Indian music and stories as source material for his classical compositions. "I have a mission in my music," he says.

'Home from School' Tells One Story of Indian Boarding Schools in Order to Heal

Daniel Hautzinger

The new documentary Home from School tells the story of the Northern Arapaho's efforts to repatriate the remains of three children who died at an assimilationist boarding school more than a century ago. “This film talks about closing those cycles [of generational trauma]," says an associate producer.

Searching for the "Enigmatic Hero" of the Cherokee Language, Sequoyah

Daniel Hautzinger

A new documentary explores the legacy and mysterious life of Sequoyah, who created the Cherokee writing system despite being illiterate in any other language. The team behind the film discusses its importance to them as Native scholars and filmmakers. 

Native American Heritage Month 2021 on WTTW

Daniel Hautzinger

November is Native American Heritage Month. "Heritage" often implies looking towards the past, and while that does figure into the documentaries and series we're airing in honor of the month, present lives and growth are equally important.

Artist Chris Pappan Explores the Contemporary Identity of Native Americans

Meredith Francis

By blending a lowbrow style and the use of ledger art, Kanza artist Chris Pappan uses his art to undo the erasure of Native peoples' histories and identities.

From the Archive: Maria Tallchief

Daniel Hautzinger

Maria Tallchief, a half-Osage dancer considered one of the epitomes of American ballet in the twentieth century, was recently honored in a Google Doodle that featured footage from WTTW's archive, in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

New PBS Kids Show 'Molly of Denali' Is First to Feature a Native American Lead

Daniel Hautzinger

Molly of Denali, a new PBS Kids series that premieres on July 15, is the first national children's series to feature a Native American lead character, and includes Alaska Natives in all aspects of production, from scriptwriters to actors to music.

"We're Still Here": Chicago's Native American Community

Daniel Hautzinger

After their removal from the region around Chicago in the early nineteenth century, Native Americans began returning to the city in the 1950s under the federal government's ill-planned relocation policy. Chicago has the oldest urban Indian center, and the third largest urban population of Native Americans.
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