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Native American Version of Berenstain Bears Launches Soon

A Native American language version of The Berenstain Bears will be released in September.
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After more than a year in the making, the Lakota version of the popular cartoon The Berenstain Bears or Mat?ó Waú?šila Thiwáhe—The Compassionate Bear Family—will make its debut September 11 at 9 a.m. through South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) and Prairie Public Television.

Two episodes a week will air on SDPB digital channel 3 and Prairie Public’s digital channel 4 every Sunday morning through November. Then, local access stations KOLC and REZ IPTV will broadcast the show to viewers on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations.

The new show will also get a special preview screening on September 7 at the Tribal Leaders’ Summit Banquet during the 42nd Annual United Tribes Powwow in Bismarck, North Dakota. Dancers dressed as the bears will join Grand Entry on September 8, and an honoring ceremony will be held to recognize the project’s developers and supporters.

Preview screenings will also be held during the Children’s Day activities on September 9.

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The idea came from the Lakota Language Consortium (LLC), a group dedicated to restoring the Lakota language. LLC board member and Rosebud Sioux Tribe member Ben Black Bear is the voice of Papa Bear.

If you can’t catch Mat?ó Waú?šila Thiwáhe on television, a DVD will be released in November and will stream episodes online.

View the trailer for the show here: