Reading and Language Arts

Return to Rainy Mountain is a feature length documentary film that tells the story of N. Scott Momaday. It is a personal account of his life and legacy told in his own voice, and in the voice of his daughter Jill.

Words from a Bear examines the enigmatic life and mind of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Navarro Scott Momaday, one of Native America’s most celebrated authors of poetry and prose.

Ishi’s Return is a half-hour film about Ishi, billed in 1911 as the “last wild Indian,” when he wandered out of the woods in Oroville, California, and became a national sensation. When Ishi died, his brain was removed and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

For centuries survival was difficult for Alaska Native peoples, but they lived full lives. Today survival is easier, but they are dying young.

For over 50 years, archaeologist Dr. Douglas Anderson, of Brown University, studied the Iñupiaq Natives of Northwestern Alaska. When one of the last excavations of his career shuts down due to the discovery of human remains, he must rely on the relationships he has built with the Iñupiaq. Policy dictates that archaeological excavations on National Park Service land must stop when remains are found and all living descendants be notified. Are the relationships between Anderson and the Iñupiaq based purely on his own academic pursuits?

SOL explores the death of a young Inuk man, Solomon Tapatiaq Uyarasuk, who is found dead in an RCMP detachment in a remote Inuit community. The locals suspect murder, but the police suggest suicide. As the documentary investigates the truth to Solomon’s death it sheds light on the underlying social issues of Canada’s North that has resulted in this region claiming one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world.

The first film to document the story of Michigan's Native Americans in the Civil War who served in Company K of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. During the Civil War a regiment of sharpshooters was being recruited to fight for the Union. Since Michigan's Native Americans were famous as skilled hunters, it was decided to recruit one company--Company K--from among the tribes in Michigan. Nearly 140 men volunteered for Company K in the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters regiment.

The efforts of one dying woman to preserve her Native culture don’t end when she passes, but prompts a renewal in finding pride in that culture. She confronts the violent event over two centuries ago that began the destruction of her people and the shame that colonialism created.

A Lakota mother studying geology seeks the source of the water contamination that may have caused her daughter's critical health problems. Meanwhile, a Lakota grandmother fights the regional expansion of uranium mining. Crying Earth Rise Up exposes the human cost of uranium mining and its impact on Great Plains drinking water.

The film Across the Creek is the story of the Lakota tribe in South Dakota, and their struggle to reclaim their culture through language, dance, working with the land, and participating in cultural activities.

Indigenous communities around the world and in the U.S. resist threats to their sacred places—the original protected lands—in a growing movement to defend human rights and restore the environment.

In this four-part documentary series, Native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling a utilitarian view of land in the form of government megaprojects, consumer culture, and resource extraction as well as competing religions and climate change.

A Comanche from Oklahoma, LaDonna helped convince the Nixon administration to return sacred ground to the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, in 1970 founded the Americans for Indian opportunity and became a vice-presidential nominee in 1980.

Please note: The time codes referenced in the educational guide correspond to the broadcast and PBS Online Video versions of this documentary.

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Should tribes like the Shoshone and Arapaho attempt to bring back beautiful ancestral objects—drums, pipes, eagle wing fans, medicine bags, weapons, and ceremonial attire that ar