ancestry

FINDING YOUR ROOTS
No Laughing Matter

FINDING YOUR ROOTS: No Laughing Matter

 

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shows comedians Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman that their family trees are filled with people whose struggles laid the groundwork for their success. Gates also reveals to each one news of an unexpected DNA cousin.

 

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FINDING YOUR ROOTS
Dreaming of a New Land

FINDING YOUR ROOTS: Dreaming of a New Land

 

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores with Marisa Tomei, Sheryl Sandberg and Kal Penn the tremendous challenges faced by their immigrant forebears. From Italy, Russia and India to America, their histories show success could take generations to achieve.

 

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PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
War for Guam

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS: War for Guam

 

War for Guam traces the enduring legacy from World War II in Guam, a U.S. territory since 1898, and how the native people of Guam, the Chamorros, remained loyal to the U.S. under Japanese occupation, only to be later stripped of much of their ancestral lands by the American military. Through rare archival footage, contemporary film, and testimonies of survivors and their descendants, the story is told from various points of view, including from war survivors like Antonio Artero, Jr., whose father was awarded one of the first Medals of Freedom for his heroic deeds in protecting American lives; and two key historical figures, Radioman George Tweed and Father Jesus Baza Duenas.

 

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PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi

 

In this new film, Professor of Anthropology Christine Yano explains, “If we want to know something of what some of these womenʻs lives were like…we could do no better than to listen to their own words, as expressed through song.” The women that Professor Yano is referring to are Japanese immigrants who worked in Hawai‘i’s sugarcane fields in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Through their canefield songs, or holehole bushi, these women sang about their joys and sorrows of trying to start life in a new world. Hosted and narrated by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, the film tells the story of music teacher Harry Urata, and his efforts to record, preserve and perpetuate these musical oral histories.

 

 

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the WWII Internment Camps

 

Using historical footage and interviews from artists who were interned, this film tells the story of how traditional Japanese cultural arts were maintained at a time when the War Relocation Authority emphasized the importance of assimilation and Americanization. Included are stories of artists in the fields of music, dance and drama who were interned at Tule Lake, Manzanar, Amache/Granada, Rohwer, Gila River and Topaz.

 

 

A Front Row Seat to Myth-Busting

 

CEO Message

A Front Row Seat to Myth-Busting

 CEO Message: A Front Row Seat to Myth-Busting. Ornithologist Auguste von Bayern with a jackdaw
Ornithologist Auguste von Bayern, with a jackdaw, from the NOVA episode Bird Brain

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO“What a bird brain!” “You’re a Neanderthal!” Not so long ago, these were taunts. But, thanks to recent research by scientists and the fine documentaries on PBS, we know better.

 

And I’m just the person to be thrilled by these discoveries. When I was a kid, my no-nonsense grandmother called me a bird brain every time I forgot my rubber slippers on our neighbors’ porch, which was often. And just last month, a 23andme.com ancestry test turned up Neanderthal DNA in my family.

 

When you sit back and view Nature or NOVA on Wednesday nights on PBS Hawai‘i, you sometimes have a front row seat to myth-busting. In vibrant video, you see that some of the ideas and conclusions printed in our old textbooks have been blown away.

 

As depicted in the recent NOVA episode Bird Brain, birds are far from empty-headed. They make great use of their small neuron-packed brains. They turn pebbles and sticks into tools; they plan multiple steps to solve problems; and some even “read” human faces. Put birds to the test with puzzles – and they can figure out when to defer a reward in order to snag a bigger one later.

 

In NOVA’s Decoding Neanderthals, we learned that these hominoids were not the brutish, knuckle-dragging simpletons we’d conjured. They were powerfully built, yes, but they also had large brains. They were adept at tool-making, and in fact, may have developed the first synthetic product, a type of glue. It was a very tough life in the Ice Age, and it’s unlikely that most Neanderthals lived past age 30.

 

Within the last decade, it’s been confirmed that Neanderthals interbred with their close cousins, homo sapiens. Many of us of European or Asian ancestry carry snippets of Neanderthal DNA. That’s just what my brother’s genetic test showed. In fact, he has more than the average amount.

 

A prevailing theory holds that our homo sapiens ancestors vanquished the Neanderthals. With the recent genetic evidence, another theory merits consideration: Through mating, the Neanderthals – with their smaller populations – were simply absorbed into homo sapiens life. Look for a brand-new PBS program about Neanderthals this month, Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors on Wednesday, February 28 at 9:00 pm. [Note: Since publication, PBS has announced that the program has been postponed until further notice.] I suspect there’ll be further re-branding of my ancient forebears.

 

We want to thank Dr. Belinda A. Aquino for generously sponsoring the broadcasts of both Nature and NOVA on PBS Hawai‘i. A retired University of Hawai‘i political science professor, Dr. Aquino is an internationally recognized authority on contemporary Philippine affairs. She tells me that she savors these programs about natural phenomena because they inspire new ways to think about humanity and the world around us.

 

And I’d like to thank you, too, for your support of PBS Hawai‘i’s role of adding new perspectives and context to our collective understanding of history and current affairs. Myth-busting is a byproduct!

 

Aloha nui,

 

Leslie signature

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
E Haku Inoa: To Weave a Name

 

A young multi-racial kanaka maoli (native Hawaiian) woman, filmmaker Christen Hepuakoa Marquez, sets out to discover the meaning of her incredibly lengthy Hawaiian name from her estranged mother, whose diagnosis as schizophrenic in the 80s caused their family separation. Christen not only discovers herself within the name, but gains a whole new perspective on the idea of sanity and how cultural differences can sometimes muddle its definition.

 

FINDING YOUR ROOTS
Black Like Me

 

This acclaimed series with Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the mysteries, surprises and revelations hidden in the family trees of popular figures.

 

Black Like Me
Bryant Gumbel, Tonya Lewis-Lee and Suzanne Malveaux discover a tapestry of the unexpected in their ancestry, revealing slaves and free people of color, Civil War legacies and forgotten European origins.

 

FINDING YOUR ROOTS
Puritans and Pioneers

FINDING YOUR ROOTS: Puritans and Pioneers

 

Actors Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and William H. Macy trace their nonconformist ancestors through American conflicts – the Civil War and the American Revolution, all the way back to the Puritan establishment.

 

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