Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

The month of November is Native American Heritage Month, a time meant to celebrate and honor the Native American population. Be sure to check out some of our programming to learn more about Native American culture.

Crafts From the Past: Meskwaki Bead Art

Whether it be hobbies from childhood, crafts we associate with a parent or grandparent, or hands-on skills long forgotten, there is a fascination with reprising lost techniques as we explore new pastimes. Crafts From the Past introduces hobbies from decades past, offering a primer to various techniques by experienced Iowa makers. In this episode, Mary Young Bear demonstrates the rich tradition of Meskwaki bead art and the ties the art has to her own ancestors.


Greetings From Iowa: Meskwaki Powwow

In 1857 the Meskwaki people purchased eighty acres of land in Tama County. Now, with more than eight thousand acres in their possession, the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa gathers each year at the original Meskwaki Settlement to celebrate customs passed down through the generations.


Little Bird

In 1968, five-year-old Bezhig Little Bird was forcibly removed from Long Pine Reserve and adopted into a Jewish family in Montreal, and renamed Esther Rosenblum. Eighteen years later, she embarks on a journey to unravel her history. Through this epic journey of connection and self-discovery, Bezhig Little Bird begins to find her lost family and put the pieces of her fragmented past back together. Watch this program on demand via the PBS App. 


The American Buffalo

The dramatic story of America’s national mammal, which sustained the lives of Native people for untold generations, being driven to the brink of extinction, before an unlikely collection of people rescues it from disappearing forever. Ken Burns recounts the tragic collision of two opposing views of the natural world—and the unforgettable characters who pointed the nation in a different direction. Watch this two-part documentary on the PBS App. 


Next at the Kennedy Center: Embracing Duality: Modern Indigenous Culture

In partnership with electronic music pioneers The Halluci Nation, R&B artist Martha Redbone, and performance artist Ty Defoe, The Kennedy Center explores the impact and evolution of indigenous performing arts cultures. This program is available on demand on the PBS App via Iowa PBS Passport, a member benefit giving expanded access to PBS programs on demand.   

Native America Season 2

Season 2 of Native America is a groundbreaking portrait of contemporary Indian Country. This four-part Native directed series reveals the beauty and power of today’s Indigenous world. Smashing stereotypes, it follows the brilliant engineers, bold politicians, and cutting-edge artists who draw upon Native tradition to build a better 21st century. Watch the latest season via the PBS App.

Native Ball: Legacy of a Trailblazer

Each year in the U.S., nearly 5,000 high-school girls’ basketball players earn a full-ride Division I scholarship. In 1992, only one was Native American: Blackfeet Nation’s Malia Kipp. Living in two worlds presented challenges, but Kipp carried the burden with grace and grit. Described by her chief as “a warrior,” she blazed a heroic and inspiring trail for other Native girls to follow. Watch the program on demand via the PBS App.


America Reframed: Town Destroyer

Town Destroyer probes a passionate dispute over historic murals at a public high school depicting the life of George Washington: slave owner, General, land speculator, President, and a man Seneca leaders called “town destroyer.” The controversy becomes a touchstone for a national debate over public art and historic memory in a time of racial reckoning. Watch the program on demand via the PBS App. 

Local, USA: Generations Stolen

Native American communities are grappling with the fallout of government policies which separated Native children from their families and stripped them of their culture - first at boarding schools, and later in white adoptive and foster homes. On June 15, 2023, the Supreme Court rejected challenges to ICWA, a victory for Native communities working to overcome generations of trauma. This program is available on demand on the PBS App via Iowa PBS Passport, a member benefit giving expanded access to PBS programs on demand.   

Independent Lens: ATTLA

ATTLA tells the gripping story of George Attla, a charismatic Alaska Native dogsled racer who, with one good leg and fierce determination, became a legendary sports hero in Northern communities around the world. This program is available on demand on the PBS App via Iowa PBS Passport, a member benefit giving expanded access to PBS programs on demand.   


American Masters, Buffy Saint-Marie: Carry It On

Experience the story of the Oscar-winning Indigenous artist from her rise to prominence in New York’s Greenwich Village folk music scene through her six-decade groundbreaking career as a singer-songwriter, social activist, educator and artist. Watch via the PBS App

Introducing Your Child to Native American Culture

This November, celebrate Native American Heritage Month with the whole family. To learn more about Native American culture in Iowa, consider visiting the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama, Iowa. In addition, check out the FIND Iowa page to learn about the rich history and culture of the Meskwaki people.