INDEPENDENT LENS Spotlights Native American Basketball Heroes on the Rez

April 1, 2003

ITVS and PBS present Daniel Junge and Donna Dewey’s documentary CHIEFS and the companion Web site at For Wind River Indian High School’s basketball team and their community, winning the state championship means everything. Will basketball be their passport to a brighter future? Watch CHIEFS on INDEPENDENT LENS April 1, 2003 at 10:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and find out.Web site highlights include:

The Rez

Learn the history of the Wind River reservation, since its establishment for the Shoshone people in 1863 to the present. Understand why low incomes, high unemployment rates and little opportunity are chronic problems on this reservation.

Where Are They Now?

In 2003 the Chiefs played another outstanding season of basketball, placing third in the state championships. Find out what’s happened to members of the CHIEFS team since shooting finished in October 2001.

The Film

Find out if Beaver C’Bearing and his teammates can triumph as state champions – and what it means to grow up Native American today. Explore complex factors on and off the reservation that contribute to an incredible game of basketball. Read staggering statistics on Native American athletics.

Filmmaker Q & A

Filmmaker Daniel Junge discusses his subjects’ reactions to the film, “getting the story,” and what keeps him inspired and motivated.

Learn More

Get links to Web sites, book and articles on various Native American subjects, including athletics, the Wind River reservation, education, history and other general interest topics.


We want to hear from you! Get involved in a discussion of the program and Native American athletics.


Hosted by Angela Bassett, this anthology series showcases powerful and innovative independent programming. INDEPENDENT LENS is broadcast on PBS stations. Check local listings at