🎵 She's Mollllly of Denali 🎵
July 20, 2019 8:18 PM   Subscribe

After years of erasure and dehumanization, Indigenous youth will finally have something for themselves in Molly of Denali, the first nationally distributed children's show to feature an Alaska indigenous person as the main character and protagonist (US PBS show website, Canadian CBC show website).

With ‘Molly of Denali,’ PBS Raises Its Bar for Inclusion.

Dozens of Alaska Native writers and advisers were recruited to help create the children’s series. Voice talent for lead characters represents various indigenous communities: The show does note shy away from introducing children to difficult issues facing indigenous peoples, including the history of the boarding school program to assimilate indigenous peoples into the mainstream of the “American way of life". It also emphasizes the importance of retaining traditional languages and the imparting of knowledge and stories between generations.

Episodes (PBS video player link, with all links below to Youtube - seems like all Episodes available in the PBS Kids app as well)
  1. Grandpa's Drum/Have Canoe, Will Paddle
  2. Cabbagezilla/Name Game
  3. Berry Itchy Day/Herring Eggs or Bust
  4. First Fish/A-maze-ing Snow
  5. Bird in the Hand/Bye-Bye Birdie
  6. Culture Clash/Party Moose
  7. Hot Springs Eternal/Tooey's Hero
  8. The Worm Turns/Little Dog Lost
  9. Eagle Egg Hunt/Dream Tube
  10. Suki's Bone/Brand New Flag
  11. Sap Season/Book of Mammoths
  12. New Nivagi/Crane Song
  13. Fiddle of Nowhere/A Splash of Mink
Bonus - Molly and Grandpa Nat's Recipe for Nivagi (traditional dessert)

2 cups Moose fat
1 cup dried Moose Meat
1 cup wild wild strawberries ligonberries
1 cup wild mashed wild carrot
1 cup blueberries

1. Whip Moose fat until fluffy
2. Mix in Moose meat
3. Fold in strawberries / ligonberries / blueberries
4. Add mashed carrot to taste
posted by inflatablekiwi (16 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
It's a pretty awesome show, very watchable, good stories, and has done the almost impossible in displacing Wild Kratts as the first show requested by our 4 year old at TV time. Really like the mix of traditional stories, along with lessons on how to use libraries and online sources (including reinforcing for young kids that not all online sources can be trusted!), etc. I didn't know much about the indigenous peoples of the far north (and if I've erred in terminology or phrasing in the post in anyway let me) - but this totally had me googling how to move to Alaska after a few episodes....so had to share.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:25 PM on July 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

This song has been NONSTOP stuck in my head with the PBS promos on all the time. My kids and I watched this week (saw four episodes of the five that aired on my PBS this week), and really enjoyed it! It was an interesting mix of naturalist knowledge (info about animals/plants), indigenous knowledge (natural bug repellent recipes,indigenous stories), and science (why the indigenous bug repellent works/why beavers do this or that).

It reminds me a lot of the Wild Kratts (as inflatablekiwi says) in the way it presents animals and makes their evolutionary adaptations/roles in ecosystems clear. It also reminds me a bit of Curious George in that one of the episodes we saw (with bug repellents) involved a lot of trying things, testing them, and seeing what worked and didn't, drawing from indigenous knowledge and scientific research and so on and trying different things.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:35 PM on July 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

This series is so good it has displaced Thomas the Train Engine as the show our kid wants to watch as his evening TV.

Yes, our train-obsessed three year old, who sleeps in Thomas pajamas every night, wears Thomas pull ups, and correctly toddlersplained canon to me today about how I should not refer to this one particular train from those stories as having a coal car, “because he burns oil or wood, Mommy.”

I repeat, this show has displaced Thomas for tv time.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:54 PM on July 20, 2019 [9 favorites]

We just learned about this show from a wonderful exhibit about native Alaskan media at the Anchorage Museum!
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:58 PM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

The very first episode, Grandpa's Drum, tackles boarding schools, btw, if you're curious to see that. Molly's grandfather's drum was taken away from him at boarding school and it made him too sad to sing his culture's songs, or to tell stories of that time; Molly and her friend help locate the drum so grandpa can tell his stories again. Grandpa cries with joy.

Molly's mom flies a plane; Molly's grandpa is a scientist (of some sort -- my kids might know if he's a doctor or a naturalist or what but they're asleep -- I pay half-attention to PBS kids shows in the morning while trying to make breakfast and get everyone dressed). The interstitials between episodes feature real Alaskan native kids talking about their culture as it relates to the episode.

I also really do like how they integrate web research and Molly vlogging and so on -- it's very true to how little kids use technology with their parents. There's also a lot of interesting stuff about how to learn about history, where kids compare old pictures to the same modern location, or use old pictures or stories to learn about how their grandparents lived.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:03 PM on July 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Alas, the uploader has not made these videos available in my country.
posted by jrochest at 9:28 PM on July 20, 2019

My kids have been counting down (badly) to the premiere this past Monday for MONTHS.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:42 PM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

My kid watched the previews every chance they got before it premiered for weeks. We haven't gotten past the first episode in the PBS Kids app, but we've watched it every day for the last week and everytime my partner and I can't hold back the tears. It's just a fantastic show.

And the canoe coach reminds me of a kind of wholesome Jerry Blank from Strangers With Candy (or I guess a sporty and less eccentric Amy Sedaris).

Also check out the podcast! A friend recommended it, and we listened to a few episodes on a long drive today and it was pretty fun. Kind of like a prequel radio drama. The toddler was into it.
posted by kendrak at 11:16 PM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

My kids have been counting down (badly) to the premiere this past Monday for MONTHS.

When it premiered my four year old was pretty jazzed: "It's finally here! It's happening!" It's both a testament to PBSKids' promo department and an indictment of my overly-friendly television policy.

Also, since this is a crowd that'll get this reference, go to hell, Splash & Bubbles.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:27 PM on July 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

We in Alaska are *very* excited about it and I am delighted it has turned out to be watchable and fun, particularly in a month full of exceptionally bad news for Alaskans otherwise.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:41 AM on July 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

Alas, the uploader has not made these videos available in my country.

Yes, it looks like they are geo-restricted, unfortunately, but I did find a couple of accessible uploads (for now, anyway): Grandpa's Drum, and Have Canoe, Will Paddle.
posted by taz at 6:23 AM on July 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

"go to hell, Splash & Bubbles."

WHYYYYYYYYY is that show so unwatchable and annoying????

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:22 AM on July 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

My 5 year old tells me that Molly of Denali is as good as My Little Pony. This is high, high praise.

Also, glad to see I’m not the only parent who can’t stand Splash and Bubbles.
posted by Kriesa at 11:49 AM on July 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Also check out the podcast!

Oh neat! I hadn’t even noticed they had one - but just listened to the first episode and enjoyed an almost “kids are quiet” car ride for the first time in months.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:16 PM on July 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

My seven year old daughter loves it, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:05 PM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've watched a couple of these with my 5 year old and we both love it. Her class was listening with rapt attention to the podcast, the last time I picked her up from school.

I noticed that Splash and Bubbles has been demoted to the 6:30AM Sunday timeslot for my local station.
posted by medeine at 1:19 PM on July 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

« Older Mac & Cheese   |   Baby names, round ten Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments