PULLMAN, Wash. – Northwest Public Broadcasting (NWPB) presents The American Buffalo: A Screening and Conversation. A special preview of the latest documentary from Ken Burns and exclusive content from NWPB developed in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and Yakama Nation will be shown at three free screenings:
• October 10 | Washington State University – Goertzen Hall |Pullman, WA | 7:00 PM
• October 12 | REACH Museum | Richland, WA | 7:00 PM
• October 14 | Whitman College – Maxey Hall | Walla Walla, WA | 7:00 PM
The events are free and open to the public. https://www.nwpb.org/buffalo/.
The two-part, four-hour film is the biography of the sacred animal that has found itself at the center of many of the country’s most mythic and heartbreaking tales. The series, which has been in production for four years, will take viewers on a journey through more than 10,000 years of North American history and across some of the continent’s most iconic landscapes, tracing the mammal’s evolution, its significance to the Great Plains and, most importantly, its relationship to the Indigenous People of North America.
“It is a quintessentially American story,” Ken Burns said, “filled with unforgettable stories and people. But it is also a morality tale encompassing two historically significant lessons that resonate today: how humans can damage the natural world and also how we can work together to make choices to preserve the environment around us. The story of the American buffalo is also the story of Native nations who lived with and relied on the buffalo to survive, developing a sacred relationship that evolved over more than 10,000 years but which was almost completely severed in fewer than 100.”
For thousands of generations, buffalo have evolved alongside Indigenous people who relied on them for food and shelter, and, in exchange for killing them, revered the animal. The stories of Native people anchor the series, including the Kiowa, Comanche and Cheyenne of the Southern Plains; the Pawnee of the Central Plains; the Salish, Kootenai, Lakota, Mandan-Hidatasa, Aaniiih, Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet from the Northern Plains; and others.
The film includes interviews with leading Native American scholars, land experts and Tribal Nation members. Among those interviewed were Gerard Baker (Mandan-Hidatsa), George Horse Capture, Jr. (Aaniiih), Rosalyn LaPier (Blackfeet of Montana and Métis), N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), Marcia Pablo (Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai), Ron Parker (Comanche), Dustin Tahmahkera (Comanche) and Germaine White (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes).
Today, there are approximately 350,000 buffalo in the U.S., most of them descendants of 77 animals from five founding herds at the start of the 20th century, and their numbers are increasing. The film concludes with a brief look at some of the ongoing restoration efforts and the central role the Tribal Nations have had in their return.
The American Buffalo will premiere October 16 and 17 at 8:00 p.m. on PBS, https://www.pbs.org/ and the https://www.pbs.org/pbs-app/. NWPB KWSU viewers can watch October 26 and 27 at 7:00 p.m. The film will also be available to stream on https://www.pbs.org/explore/passport/. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the https://help.pbs.org/support/solutions/5000121793.
WSU | Goertzen Hall
October 10 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM
This screening will feature clips from the Ken Burns American Buffalo documentary. Afterwards, NWPB staff welcome conversation about the documentary and KWSU-TV programming. Email questions to NWPB Director of Audience Sueann Ramella at mail to: email@example.com.
October 12 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM
This screening features a conversation with guests of honor from the Yakama Nation Wildlife Management Team. Email questions to NWPB Director of Content Annie Warren at mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-372-7408.
Whitman College | Maxey Hall
Walla Walla, Washington
October 14 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM
This screening will feature a conversation with guests of honor Althea, Jeremy and Aiden Wolf (Class of ’25), of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Email questions to Jeanine Gordon at mail to: email@example.com.