PBS expands breadth of Native American Heritage Month feature selections

For more than 20 years, PBS stations across the U.S. have honored Native American Heritage during the month of November. Each year the number of programs featuring various Native American nations from throughout North America grows. But, according to Greg Giczi, general manager of northern Arizona's PBS station Eight/KAET-TV, the growth in the number of programs is not the only significant change.

"We see more unique and distinctive stories, less of the stereotypical approaches to Native American life. 'Gallery ,' for example, presents the grand unveiling of the National Museum of the American Indian represent[ing] more than 500 tribes.

Another significant change is that more of the programs are produced by Native Americans. It is not uncommon now to see productions with Native American writers, directors, videographers - Native Americans telling their own stories. That had not been the case in years past," Giczi said.

Giczi explained that PBS offers numerous selections to stations across the nation. Each station then chooses those most appropriate to their viewers.

At KAET, administrators use several methods to decide what will be aired in Arizona.

"We review the programs offered by PBS and also research any selections from independent filmmakers. The programs that make the schedule are those that reflect the Native American population in our state and programs that explore the culture and traditions. We will also air those that have been well-received in the past, such as our own productions Hopi Quilts (Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m.) and Seasons of a Navajo (Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.)," Giczi said.

During the second part of November, KAET will feature the following programs.

Silent Thunder at Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m.

This features an intimate look into the life of Stanford Addison, an Arapaho elder who is the stronghold of his community. Paralyzed from the neck down, Stanford's story is a heartwarming one, which teaches every one of us that life is bigger than we think, and our problems are smaller than they seem. The original poem used in Silent Thunder is by Verlin Pitt.

Hopi Quilts, Sunday, Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Part of The Arizona Collection

This program tells the story of quilts in historic and modern Hopi life in the remote Hopi Mesas of northern Arizona. Since missionaries introduced the American craft of quilting to Hopi women more than 100 years ago, simple patchwork bedcoverings have evolved into contemporary works of art. Hopi Quilts visits quilters and shows how Hopi artisans have adopted the American quilting tradition and made it uniquely their own. This feature is a production of Pam Stevenson Communications and Eight/KAET.

Journey of Sacagawea, Sunday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 30 at 10 p.m.

The teenage Sacagawea, who with her infant son accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is a historical icon. This program shows how cultures and events may have shaped her, going beyond the sparse comments found in the expedition journals to the rich oral history of the Agaidika Shoshoni (known as the Lemhi Shoshoni), the Mandan/Hidatsa and the Nez Perce. Dramatic re-enactments bring her story to life.

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