WASHINGTON - ''Indian Pride'' is for Indian people, and 75 or so of them turned out to experience it Jan. 18 at the National Museum of the American Indian.
The evening reception featured the world premiere of the half-hour public television production, which proved a throwback to the variety shows of old - though filmed in high resolution and with a focus on Indian culture. Each of the show's 13 segments will showcase Indian scholars, performing artists and storytellers, introduced by host JuniKae Randall.
Prairie Public of Fargo, N.D., is producing ''Indian Pride'' for its viewing audiences in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota, and Canada's Manitoba province. Other public television stations may also carry the show, probably beginning in April, according to Bob Dambach of Prairie Public. Viewers should call their local PBS station and request the show, Dambach and Randall said. Randall added that the show will eventually be available in classrooms, along with companion teaching materials. Six of the 13 half-hour segments have been completed, Dambach said, and the rest are in production.
The show's title is indicative of the passion that surrounds it in many quarters of Indian country. For all the exceptional moments of the Jan. 18 screening, perhaps the most telling came from an elderly woman of a Southwest tribe who simply fell silent, trying to describe the roadblocks thrown up against Indian cultural expression. Her gesture, so memorable on film, isn't easily described in words. Somehow it said it all without saying anything. By capturing such moments on film, ''Indian Pride'' promises to speak volumes beyond the core performances that are its main premise.
On an evening filled out with fine speakers from across the country, Danny Jumper, director of Seminole Broadcasting for the Seminole Tribe in Florida, came as close as anyone to interpreting the importance of ''Indian Pride'': ''We're survivors of history, and so we want to be part of this visibility.''