Today is Native American Day, a national holiday celebrated across the United States on the fourth Friday of September each year (second Monday of October for South Dakota and Wisconsin).
This holiday honors the contributions of Indigenous people and acknowledges their many sacrifices, achievements, and rich cultures.
Through our films and docu-series, you can learn a bit more about just some of these cultures and stories you may not have heard of before. Check them out below—they are streaming now on WOW Presents Plus and YouTube.
For over 300 years, the Laguna Pueblos have celebrated the feast days of the Catholic saints by throwing grocery items from their rooftops. Historically, the Lagunas are intensely private. In Grab, this is the first time that cameras have been welcomed to film this annual summer event.
For more than 50 years, Navajo people have gathered in the capital of the Navajo Nation to witness the Miss Navajo Nation beauty pageant. Miss Navajo follows 21-year-old Crystal Frazier’s quest for the Miss Navajo crown, and explores the important role of women in Dine culture. Featuring personal stories of past winners, the film follows current contestants competing and showcasing their skills in dance, music, and sheep slaughtering.
Trigger warning: school shooting
Red Lake is an intimate portrait of three survivors of a 2005 high school shooting on the Red Lake Indian reservation in northern Minnesota as they continue to heal ten years later.
“I made this film because in the conversations we have about these tragedies, Red Lake is always overlooked and forgotten,” Filmmaker Billy Luther explained. “But there are so many survivors who are still healing from this experience. I wanted to see how these survivors were doing ten years later.”
Luther says he wasn’t making a film about the actual events that happened ten years ago, but about the shared experience of healing. “That was important from the very beginning,” he says. “These survivors have been asked over and over about the incident, they didn’t want to tell the same story.”
Alter-NATIVE: Kitchen, from award-winning independent filmmaker Billy Luther and co-produced by Independent Television Service (ITVS), highlights three Native chefs who are creating a new diet of traditionally inspired cuisine. The six-episode, digital docuseries chronicles the work of Navajo/Diné Chef Brian Yazzie, Pawnee–Athabaskian Chef Hillel Echo-Hawk, and Hawaiian Chef Kalā Domingo—each of whom prepares foods that have sustained their communities for generations.
All six episodes of “Alter-NATIVE: Kitchen” are available to watch on PBS’s Independent Lens YouTube Channel. Watch below!