A small band of Native Americans in the Great Lakes region is restoring its land, water and way of life. Catch the compelling story, “The Seven Generation River,” for Earth Day on the PBS World Channel (56.4).
WTVS Detroit Public TV’s WORLD channel (over-the-air 56.4) can be seen on the following cable stations:
- Comcast Channel 287
- BrightHouse 155
- Charter (most systems) 432
Details from Great Lakes Now:
In a time of cultural turmoil and deep disagreements among Americans, our natural resources can be caught in the crossfire.
In an approach that blends the latest science with longstanding traditions, members of a small band of Native Americans nestled into the southwest corner of the Great Lakes might hold the key to healing our divisions, healing nature, healing ourselves. They are the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
“The Seven Generation River,” a documentary from Detroit Public TV’s Great Lakes Now bureau about the Pokagon Band’s historic efforts to restore its land and water, is receiving its national premiere on the PBS World Channel (56.4), appropriately enough on Monday, April 22 – Earth Day.
For the Pokagon, water is sacred. They are intimately tied to the lakes, rivers and streams that run through tribal lands. Unlike many Native American tribes, the Pokagon were never removed from their ancestral home, but they saw their environment and way of life fractured over time.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many of their lands were sold. The new European landowners altered the paths of rivers and streams where the Pokagon hunted and fished for centuries, and they cleared habitats to support Western-style agriculture. Culturally important plants and animals were pushed aside, and the Pokagon culture began to fade away. For the Pokagon, culture and the environment are not separate; if one suffers, so does the other.
The Pokagon fought for decades to keep traditional ways alive. When the Federal government recognized the Pokagon as a sovereign tribal nation in the early 1990s, the tribe launched a series of cultural preservation and environmental restoration efforts. They are now actively working to restore their traditional arts, their language and cultural practices, while incorporating new traditions like a yearly Water Walk to inspire tribal citizens to protect and preserve waterways.
The Pokagon Band has also begun a major effort to set rivers and streams back on their natural course and to improve the habitats that surround them. Their goal is to reconnect its citizens to their environment and bring back traditional ways of hunting, fishing and growing food. It’s a major cultural preservation and environmental restoration initiative to pave the way for the next seven generations.
It is compelling viewing for all of us who are concerned about our environment and the precious water we all need to survive and prosper.
Join us for “The Seven Generation River” on the PBS World Channel (56.4) on April 22 at 9 p.m.
Great Lakes Now is an initiative of Detroit Public TV to provide on ongoing coverage of issues around protecting, cherishing and enjoying the Great Lakes, the largest system of freshwater in the world. On Tuesday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m., “Great Lakes Now” will also become a monthly television series with content from a team of DPTV correspondents spread across the basin along with reports from several PBS partner stations.