Native American Heritage Month programs

KLRU broadcasts programming created by and about people from all cultures year-round, from public affairs to history to independent film to kids programming. In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, KLRU will broadcast a lineup of new and encore presentations honoring and exploring Native American culture.

Standing Bear’s Footsteps airs on Monday, October 15th at 9 pm.
“Standing Bear’s Footsteps” is the story of an Indian chief who went to court to prove he was a person…and in the process redefined what it means to be an American. The documentary traces one man’s journey from his Nebraska homeland to the malaria- infested plains of Indian Territory and finally to a trial that made front page news across America. Standing Bear’s odyssey began in 1877 when the Ponca tribe was exiled from the Niobrara valley to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, a place they called death country. As Standing Bear’s son was dying, he begged his father to take his body home and bury him with his ancestors. In January of 1879, Standing Bear began the long walk north to keep his promise. Before he and his small band could make it home they were arrested and imprisoned at Fort Omaha. With the secret support of a famous army general, Standing Bear sued the U.S. government for his freedom. The film weaves interviews, re-creations and present day scenes to tell a story about human rights, one that resonates powerfully in the present. “I am a man,” Standing Bear said at his trial. “The same God made us both.”

Journey of Sacagawea airs on Monday, October 15th at 10 pm.
The teenage Sacagawea, who with her infant son accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is an American historical icon. This program seeks the woman behind the icon and shows how cultures and events may have shaped her. The special goes 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 and scenes of the wild areas in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Oregon that the youthful Sacagawea knew bring her story to life.

POV #2511 “Sun Kissed” airs Thursday, October 18th at 9 pm.
When a Navajo couple discovers their children have a disorder that makes exposure to sunlight fatal, they also learn their reservation is a hotbed for this rare genetic disease. Why? “Sun Kissed” follows Dorey and Yolanda Nez as they confront cultural taboos, tribal history and their own unconventional choices to learn the shocking truth: the consequences of the Navajos’ Long Walk — their forced relocation by the U.S. military in 1864 –are far from over.

Jim Thorpe: World’s Greatest Athlete airs Thursday, November 1st at 9 pm.
This program chronicles the sports superstar’s remarkable life (1887-1953) – from his boyhood in Oklahoma and his gold-medal wins at the 1912 Summer Olympics to his subsequent fall from grace and later, his advocacy of American Indian rights and self-sufficiency. The one-hour biography recounts these events, and others, through in-depth interviews with Thorpe’s surviving children, dramatic re-creations, and archival stills and film.

POV #2506 “Up Heartbreak Hill” airs Friday, November 8th at 9 pm.
Thomas and Tamara are track stars at their rural New Mexico high school. Like many teenagers, they are torn between the lure of brighter futures elsewhere and the ties that bind them to home. For these teens, however, home is an impoverished town on the Navajo reservation, and leaving means separating from family, tradition and the land that has been theirs for generations. Erica Scharf’s “Up Heartbreak Hill” is a look at a new generation of Americans struggling to be both Native and modern.

Independent Lens #1203 “Reel Injun” airs Thursday, November 15th at 9 pm.
Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema and examining the ways that the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding-and misunderstanding-of Natives. Narrated by Diamond with infectious enthusiasm and good humor, this film is a loving look at cinema through the eyes of the people who appeared in its very first flickering images and have survived to tell their stories their own way.