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Eight, Arizona PBS a partner in curriculum for native US tribes

August 06, 2013

Vision Maker Media is working with Eight, Arizona PBS, Oklahoma’s Rogers State University Public Television, NET Television and Montana PBS to launch standards-based curriculum for four Public Television documentaries.

Eight, Arizona PBS has created lesson plans and a teacher’s guide for "Racing the Rez." The film shows how Navajo and Hopi cross-country runners put it all on the line, both athletically and in the classroom, for tribal pride, triumph over adversity and state championship glory. Written by Navajo curriculum writers Melissa Yazzie and Beatrice Begay, the lesson plans will be accompanied by a teacher’s guide and video clips. Keeping in spirit with the film, students can learn about distance running by trying it themselves and applying their math skills to evaluate their personal results.

To view the curriculum for "Racing the Rez," visit and simply search for “Racing the Rez” to be taken to the film’s digital learning page. First-time visitors will be asked to create a PBS login account to view the content.

“Because of the national standards-based educational curriculum and PBS Learning Media, these films will now be seen by more students and educators than if only viewed on television,” said Mark Becker, associate director for Eight, Arizona PBS’s Educational Outreach.

NET Television, in partnership with Vision Maker Media, is continuing to develop multimedia features for the Regional Emmy-Award winning film "Standing Bear’s Footsteps." The interactive website will house digital learning objects for PBS Learning Media. Visit the educational site at to download the curricula by Larry Wright (Ponca), Cindy Renner, and Joe Starita. NET Television is also developing an e-book about Standing Bear with Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Rosebud Sioux/Ponca). With grants from Humanities Nebraska and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the e-book will launch this fall.

Rogers State University’s Public TV worked with Vision Maker Media for curriculum for "Will Rogers & American Politics." The film explores the life and influential political persuasion of Oklahoman Will Rogers (Cherokee) through some of America’s difficult times in the 1920s and 1930s, and how his efforts on the political landscape still have a powerful effect today. Digital learning activities, such as research skills and outlined technology demonstrations, will engage students. Discover the breadth of educational resources available online today at

Vision Maker Media and Montana PBS are currently developing an interactive curriculum for "Indian Relay," which follows several teams from three different Native communities as they compete in bareback horse races, leaping from one horse to another at speeds topping 40 miles per hour. "Indian Relay" will premiere on the PBS series "Independent Lens" this fall.