As the year comes to a close, we were curious to see which programs with local ties connected with Wisconsin Public Television viewers the most over the past 12 months.
We peeked at website data and took note of all the comments you made by email and phone to compile a list of locally produced programming that warmed your heart, inspired you to action, educated you, and made you feel closer to your Wisconsin family.
As always, thanks for tuning in – today, and all year long.
Storytellers from each of 11 sovereign nations located in Wisconsin — and one nation whose sovereign status is no longer recognized by the federal government — share the unique histories of their people and communities in WPT’s original Tribal Histories documentaries.
A new season of Wisconsin Public Television’s Tribal Histories premieres Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Recorded in the natural settings of the regions that native people have called home for centuries, these films feature tribal members sharing the triumphs, challenges and time-honored traditions that have shaped their vibrant communities across generations.
The series premiered in 2014 with the Menominee, Oneida and Potawatomi stories. In 2015, the Ho-Chunk, Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican and Bad River Ojibwe stories followed. The series continues with stories from the five other sovereign nations within Wisconsin’s modern boundaries, as well as the Brothertown Indian Nation, whose sovereign status is no longer recognized by the federal government.
All premieres air at 7:30 p.m., following Wisconsin Life.
Thursday, Dec. 15: Red Cliff Ojibwe History
Featuring Marvin DeFoe, Red Cliff Ojibwe Tribal Elder, teacher and master canoe maker; and Andy Gokee, director of the Native American Center at UW-Stevens Point
Thursday, Dec. 22: Lac du Flambeau History
Featuring Ernie St. Germaine, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Elder and American Birkebeiner Co-Founder
Thursday, Dec. 29: Brothertown History
Featuring Joan Schadewald, First Nation Brothertown Elder, Cowgirl and Peacemaker
As the United States celebrates National Native American Heritage Month throughout November, Wisconsin residents and others interested in learning more about Native American culture of the past and present can find a variety of easy-to-access resources thanks to Act 31.
In the words of Aaron Bird Bear, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s American Indian Curriculum Services Coordinator, “Act 31 is an invitation to get to know the deep human story of the Western Great Lakes. It helps us understand our neighbors. It helps us understand our own shared history … Act 31 gives us a great sense of perspective of thinking about this place, of the many different ways we understand this place, and that’s a skill set that will be valuable for anyone wherever they go, in this global, connected world …”
To some, the choice of Bob Dylan as the 2016 Nobel laureate in Literature might be surprising. To others, who have followed the path of his lyrics since before he went electric, it’s an honor many years in the making.
Public broadcasters have often captured Dylan’s long career in film and discussion. Here are some WPT-approved options for reacquainting yourself with the wide scope of Dylan’s life and legacy.
Got any stories about Bob Dylan and how his words have made an impact on your life? We bet you do. Please share them in the comments!
Milwaukee High School of the Arts social studies teachers Drew deLutio and Kelsey Noack worked with WPT to create “experiences, not lessons” for students to engage more deeply with the extraordinary story of Vel Phillips. A flash drive containing the Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams curriculum was recently mailed to social studies educators for grades 6-12, and elementary library media specialists throughout Wisconsin.
Read about Drew deLutio’s experience working on this project:
Baseball is a springboard for immortality. As a game, it has the capacity to create idols every summer. Among the scores of heroes enshrined in bronze at Cooperstown, one player personifies the century-and-a-half long symbiosis between baseball and the long, breaking arc of the nation’s history: Jackie Robinson.
The life and legacy of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, the star who broke Major League Baseball’s color line, is the focus of the new documentary by Ken Burns. The two-episode and nearly four-hour Jackie Robinson is an expansive biography of the historic ballplayer: his childhood, his athletic feats and career, and most poignantly, his family.
The film is just as much a history of the African American experience in the 20th century, and of how Robinson came to personify the victories, disappointments and lessons of civil rights struggles. Robinson’s life intersected with the broad sweep of 20th century African American history, including displacement wrought by the Great Migration, new expectations inspired by service in World War II, the struggle of the post-war Civil Rights Movement, and ongoing racism as experienced through redlining and cynical political strategies. Continue reading The Next Base: “Jackie Robinson” by Ken Burns→
Ken Burns’ newest documentary, Jackie Robinson, goes way beyond baseball and can turn anyone (even yours truly) into a fan.
The film – premiering 8 p.m. Monday, April 11 – draws you into mid-century America through sports, the civil rights movement, and an incredibly charismatic, strong ball player named Jackie.
My favorite aspect of Jackie Robinson (and of all Ken Burns’ films, really) is how it shows a deeply human side of this iconic superstar. Jackie’s relationship with his wife, Rachel, is so inspiring. They seem like an indomitable team, and I’m so glad she contributes her voice to the story. It gives a depth and perspective to their experience that I truly appreciate.
This movie also adds another layer of nuance and perspective to my understanding of race relations in the U.S. I can’t help but watch this film and think of how far we’ve come, and how much we still have to accomplish. The resistance to change that shows up in this documentary feels uncomfortably familiar, and some of the frustrations and inequalities that come through in the movie are still being experienced today. Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson serves as a powerful reminder that we can do more, and we can expect more of ourselves.