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Public Educational Media
Date Approved

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations awarded a grant to WNED in Buffalo, New York, to support production of The Warrior Tradition. This one-hour documentary explores the complicated ways in which the culture and traditions of Native Americans have impacted their participation in the U.S. military. By using a rich storytelling style and a robust digital and educational outreach campaign, the program engaged and educated viewers across a broad demographic.

The makers of The Warrior Tradition sought to inform audiences about the importance of the role that Native Americans have played, and continue to play, in the American military, and to encourage dialogue about the issues that Native American veterans have been forced to confront. They also aimed for their film to educate people about the history, traditions, and culture of Native Americans. And they set out to provide an engaging digital resource space for students, teachers, and the larger public.

The Warrior Tradition was co-produced by WNED and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, and premiered on 330 PBS stations to 1.3 million viewers in November 2019. Special screenings were held in several cities, including in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. These screenings were followed by discussions and other engagement activities.

To further promote the program to a national audience, WNED worked with Grand Communications, a New York communications firm. This partnership resulted in an Associated Press feature story that was timed to honor Indigenous veterans on Veterans Day, a story that was picked up by major outlets across the country such as USA Today and The New York Times. A total of about 170 publications nationwide provided coverage for The Warrior Tradition, with an estimated reach of more than 286 million. Grand Communications also yielded a social media reach of more than 2.4 million, resulting in 288 million impressions for the film.

The Warrior Tradition documentary is complemented by a website that features bonus videos, along with four digital video essays created by Native American filmmakers. The website also includes additional educational resources for K-12 classrooms.

To watch the trailer for the film, click here.