November 10, 2000

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and debut the companion Web site to the documentary HOMELAND The television program will be broadcast nationally on PBS on November 16, 2000, at 10:00 p.m. (Check local listings at

This emotionally compelling film weaves a portrait of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation through the lives of a spiritual leader, a grandmother, a community activist and an artist over the course of three years. HOMELAND follows these Native Americans and their families as they face the harsh realities common to most American Indian reservations-alcoholism, extreme unemployment and scarce housing. Emphasizing family loyalty, spiritual practices and a keen sense of humor, they work to build a better life for their children and for generations to come.

Web site highlights include:

Meet the Pine Ridge Reservation Families

Understand the difficulties faced by four families on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Read about their struggles with alcoholism, poverty and homelessness, and about their positive determination, as they strive for better lives. See video clips of Michael Little Boy and his quest for a decent home for his growing family; Thurman Horse, an artist and single parent struggling to raise his family on and off the reservation; Marian White Mouse, who hopes to build her own home despite outdated land ownership laws; and 64-year-old Doris Eagle, guardian to her grandchildren and cook extrordinaire. Email the families with questions and get their responses.

Life on the Reservation: Then and Now

Follow the history of the Oglala Lakota tribe from the invasion of Indian territories by early explorers through the present day. See how Native American activism and U.S. policy changes have affected their communities. Read about real life on Indian reservations today and the hardships residents face: poverty, housing, gaming, broken treaties and tribal corruption.

Native American Traditions

Discover Lakota traditions that have endured for generations among the families of Pine Ridge. Learn about the role of the sacred buffalo, Lakota values, Sioux legends, spirituality and art. Watch video clips and get delicious recipes.


Get an in-depth history lesson of key events affecting Native Americans from 1640 to today, tracing the ongoing struggles between Native tribes and the U.S. government.

Discussion Area and Guides

The Talkback area allows visitors to gain personal insight into the Native American experience. Email the families, share your own perspective and respond to other people’s stories.

The Filmmakers

Get background information about the making of the film in an interview with directors Jilann Spitzmiller and Hank Rogerson. Read bios of the talented crew and Native American singer/songwriter Keith Secola.


In addition to links to relevant Web sites, the HOMELAND Resource section lists organizations, publications and videos on Native American culture and issues.

For Educators

Educators have access to a Teacher’s Guide for grades 6 to 12, available in printer-friendly formats for easy accessibility for libraries and schools. These lessons allow students to examine issues related to the treatment of indigenous peoples by those in a nation’s dominant culture.

About ITVS

Unique in American public television, the Independent Television Service (ITVS) was established by Congress to fund and present programs that “involve creative risks and address the needs of underserved audiences, especially children and minorities,” while granting artistic control to independent producers. ITVS has funded more than 375 programs for public television since its inception in 1991. Critically acclaimed ITVS programs include THE FARMER’S WIFE and recent Emmy Award winners SING FASTER: THE STAGEHANDS’ RING CYCLE and SCHOOL PRAYER: A COMMUNITY AT WAR. Email: or visit the ITVS Web site at

About PBS

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 347 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at