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Public Media for Central Pennsylvania

WPSU Reads

This is a grant project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program, with programming aligned with the book, There There, by Tommy Orange.

Opal, you have to know that we should never not tell our stories, and that no one is too young to hear.” – There There by Tommy Orange

Our goal is to enrich our community through storytelling and sharing knowledge of Native American cultures through our network of community partners. Please explore this page to discover educational resources, and mark your calendar with our upcoming events.

Have you read There There? With various perspectives and personal storytelling throughout the book, identity is defined, questioned, and reflected upon by the characters. Share with us how this story has helped you define or reflect on your own identity. Share Your Anonymous Response to be included in a collective community reflection piece.

Responses may be displayed in public settings and/or on our website. No identifiable information will be associated with any of the responses.

Fill out my online form.

Acknowledgement of Land

The Pennsylvania State University campuses are located on the original homelands of the Erie, Haudenosaunee (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora), Lenape (Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe, Stockbridge-Munsee), Monongahela, Shawnee (Absentee, Eastern, and Oklahoma), Susquehannock, and Wahzhazhe (Osage) Nations.  As a land grant institution, we acknowledge and honor the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to understand and model their responsible stewardship. We also acknowledge the longer history of these lands and our place in that history. http://equity.psu.edu/acknowledgement-of-land

Upcoming Events


Wikipedia Editathon: Native America Women Activists & Environmentalists

In celebration of women’s history month, the Penn State University Libraries are hosting a virtual drop-in Wikipedia editathon focusing on Native American women activists & environmentalists. The Native American Wikipedia Editathon Planning Group will provide suggestions of articles to edit and references to use. First-time Wikipedia editors are welcome.

March 19, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Previous Events

Book Discussion at Johnsonburg Public Library

Join Johnsonburg Public Library for their Book Buddies Book Club to discuss “There There” by Tommy Orange. Register with the library to attend.

February 20, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

The Penn State Powwow at C3 Sports Complex

The 18th annual Penn State Powwow will be conducted Saturday, Feb. 24, and Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024 at C3 Sports Complex, 200 Ellis Place, State College.
Admission is free and open to the public. Doors open at 11 a.m. both days.

February 24-25, 2024


The Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance Day Rally at Old Main Plaza

Join us for a celebration and testimonial to this important day! The rally will feature short performances by Akwesasne Women Singers, Las Cafeteras, and thoughts on what it means to resist from the assembled crowd. WPSU will be giving away a limited number of copies of There There by Tommy Orange. No registration required.

Monday, October 9, from noon-1:00 p.m.

The Feast at Heritage Hall | HUB-Robeson Center

Join Indigenous Peoples’ Student Association, Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance, Hispanic Heritage Month Committee, and the Center for the Performing Arts in a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The Feast features short performances by Las Cafeteras, Haudenosaunee Elders, and Caliente Dance Company. Food using indigenous recipes will be provided. WPSU will be giving away a limited number of copies of There There by Tommy Orange. Registration is required for this FREE event.

Monday, October 9, from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Eventapalooza 2023

WPSU’s fall PBS KIDS event is back! Make plans to attend Eventapalooza on Saturday, October 21, at the Outreach Building in Innovation Park, State College. This free indoor and outdoor family event will offer make and take crafts and games for kids ages 3 through 10. Pick up free take-home bags and capture photos of your kids posing with PBS KIDS standees.

Saturday, October 21, from 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Centre Film Festival: Frybread Face & Me

WPSU will be giving away a limited number of copies of There There by Tommy Orange before and after the screening. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Billy Luther and Tracy Peterson.

Thursday, November 2, at 6:30 p.m.

Centre Film Festival: Hey Viktor! + Vertebrae

WPSU will be giving away a limited number of copies of There There by Tommy Orange before and after the screening. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Gary Farmer, Travis Shilling, and Tracy Peterson.

Sunday, November 5, at 2:30 p.m.

Book Discussion at Warren Public Library

Join Warren Public Library for their book discussion about “There There” by Tommy Orange. Register with the library to attend.

January 4, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Book Discussion with Schlow Centre Region Library

Join Schlow Library for their January Well-Read Book Club as they discuss “There There” by Tommy Orange. Register with the library to attend in-person or request a Zoom link to join virtually.

January 25, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Book Discussion with Altoona Area Public Library

Join Altoona Area Public Library’s monthly Shelf Indulgence Book Club to discuss “There There” by Tommy Orange. Register with the library to attend.

January 27, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Book Discussion at Clarion Free Library

Join Clarion Free Library for their book discussion about “There There” by Tommy Orange. Register with the library to attend.

February 1, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

More events coming soon, including film screenings, community events, and book discussions.

We are thankful to have the following libraries and community partners participating in this program by hosting book discussions and events. Be sure to follow your local partner to stay informed of upcoming programs:

Interested in choosing There There for your book club? Email education@wpsu.org so we can share additional resources and opportunities.

About the Book

There There follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. They converge and collide on one fateful day at the Big Oakland Powwow and together this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.

Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange (credit Joana Toro for NPR)

Tommy Orange is an American novelist and writer from Oakland, California. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. His first book, There There, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Award. He earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts and is currently faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program.

Learn more about the author from an interview with PBS NewsHour and a reading with PBS Wisconsin.

Playlist by Tommy Orange. Listen to this curated playlist of songs that the author either listened to while writing, or that appear in the novel There There.

More to Read!

Enjoy these picture books that celebrate Native Amercian and Alaska Native heritage.

Explore recommended books from author, Tommy Orange, that highlight Indigenous people in present day (from an interview on the Today Show).

Discover your own list with this reading challenge from American Indian Library Association.

Meet PBS KIDS’ favorite Molly of Denali as you read all about her adventures in Alaska!

More to Watch!

Explore more stories and storytellers amplifying indigenous voices presented through PBS.


The American Buffalo

From Ken Burns, this two-part, four-hour series takes viewers on a journey through more than 10,000 years of North American history and across some of the continent’s most iconic landscapes, tracing the animal’s evolution, significance to the Great Plains, near demise, and relationship to the Indigenous People of North America.

Watch » (2 two-hour episodes)

Awakening in Taos: The Mabel Dodge Luhan Story

Mabel Dodge Luhan was a trailblazing feminist 100 years ahead of her time. She was a champion for Women and Native American rights. In 1917 she moved from Greenwich Village to Taos, New Mexico. There she married Tony Lujan, a Tiwa Indian from Taos Pueblo.

Watch » (55 min, requires PBS Passport)

Home From School: The Children Of Carlisle

“Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.” This was the guiding principle that removed thousands of Native American children and placed them in Indian boarding schools. Among the many who died at Carlisle Indian Industrial School were three Northern Arapaho boys. Now, more than a century later, tribal members journey from Wyoming to Pennsylvania to help them finally come home.

Watch » (55 min, requires PBS Passport)

Little Bird: Wanna Icipus Kupi (Coming Home)

Coming Home, the compelling feature-length documentary by director Erica Daniels, takes viewers behind the scenes of the production of the much-anticipated dramatic series Little Bird and the groundbreaking movement for Indigenous narrative sovereignty as experienced through the series’ Indigenous creatives, crew and ‘60s Scoop advisors.
Watch » (90 min)

Native Ball: Legacy of a Trailblazer

Each year in the U.S., nearly 5,000 high-school girls’ basketball players earn a full-ride Division I scholarship. In 1992, only one was Native American: Blackfeet Nation’s Malia Kipp. Living in two worlds presented challenges, but Kipp carried the burden with grace and grit. Described by her chief as “a warrior,” she blazed a heroic and inspiring trail for other Native girls to follow.

Watch » (26 min)

Shorts & Episodes

Against the Current | Films ByKids

17-year-old Daunnette Moniz-Reyome, who lives on the Umoⁿhoⁿ Reservation in Nebraska, interviews Native American youth and elders against the backdrop of a ceremonial powwow. Mentored by filmmaker Evan Mascagni, Moniz-Reyome shares her family’s journey to retain sacred rituals and culture traditions and the ways in which her community is healing historical trauma with strength and dignity.

Watch » (27 min)

Bunky Echo-Hawk: The Resistance

Filmmaker Ben-Alex Dupris explores how the reality and resistance of Native Americans inspire the work of Pawnee artist Bunky Echo-Hawk, igniting discussions about environmentalism, Native rights, and numerous other current topics.

Watch » (8 min)

Generations Stolen

Native American communities are grappling with the fallout of government policies which separated Native children from their families and stripped them of their culture – first at boarding schools, and later in white adoptive and foster homes. On June 15, 2023, the Supreme Court rejected challenges to ICWA, a victory for Native communities working to overcome generations of trauma.

Watch » (25 min, requires PBS Passport)

Native American composer discusses his experimental process

Last year, Raven Chacon became the first Native American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. It brought new attention to the composer known for his experimental sounds and explorations of place and history. Jeffrey Brown has this story, the second of our pieces on contemporary Native art, for our arts and culture series, “CANVAS.”

Watch » (6 min)

What We Can Learn From These Native American Comedies

Native American representation in film and TV used to be confined to Westerns and storylines of defeat. Today, a new wave of Native American comedies, written and created by Native peoples, are taking back their narratives. Shows like Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls challenge stereotypes and address big political movements like #LandBack.

Watch » (10 min)

Content Collections

American Experience, The Native American Experience

After centuries of encroachment, warfare and neglect, Native Americans remain a vital force in the life and culture of America. In this collection, explore stories celebrating and honoring the history and lives of Native Americans—throughout history and today.


Indigi-Genius is a web series devoted to telling the scientific and cultural impact of Indigenous creations and knowledge on not only the past, but the present world we know today.

Little Bird

In 1968, five-year-old Bezhig Little Bird was forcibly removed from Long Pine Reserve and adopted into a Jewish family in Montreal, and renamed Esther Rosenblum. Eighteen years later, she embarks on a journey to unravel her history. Through this epic journey of connection and self-discovery, Bezhig Little Bird begins to find her lost family and put the pieces of her fragmented past back together.

Molly of Denali

Molly of Denali is a Peabody Award-winning animated PBS KIDS series, with accompanying podcast and games, that follow the adventures of curious and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska.

Native America

Native America explores the world created by America’s First Peoples. The four-part series reaches back 15,000 years to reveal massive cities aligned to the stars, unique systems of science and spirituality, and 100 million people connected by social networks spanning two continents.

Local Connection »

Native Report

An entertaining, informative series that celebrates Native American culture and heritage, listens to tribal elders, elevates the voices of our youth, and talks to game-changers and leaders of Indian Country today.

Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media’s mission is empowering and engaging Native people to share stories. VMM supports training to increase the number of Native Americans and Alaska Natives producing public broadcasting programs.

Discover more stories with WPSU BookMark

Is there a resource or event missing? Do you have additional thoughts or questions? We would love your feedback: education@wpsu.org.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.