'Words From a Bear' Looks at the Life of Pulitzer Prize Winner N. Scott Momaday

Rick and Christina Gables
Courtesy of Younsun Palmer

Featuring new interviews with Momaday, Robert Redford, James Earl Jones, Jeff Bridges, Beau Bridges, U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, the American Masters Season 33 finale examines the enigmatic life and mind of National Medal of Arts-winner Navarro Scott Momaday, the Kiowa novelist, short-story writer, essayist and poet.

His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel House Made of Dawn led to the breakthrough of Native American literature into the mainstream. American Masters – N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear premieres nationwide Monday, November 18 at on PBS.

In 1958, Momaday earned a B.A. in political science from the University of New Mexico. The film covers Momaday’s prolific years as a doctorate fellow at Stanford University, his transformative Pulitzer Prize for Fiction win in 1969 and his later works that solidified his place as the founding member of the Native American Renaissance in art and literature, influencing a generation of fellow Native American artists, scholars and political activists.

Courtesy of PBS

The documentary delves into the psyche behind the celebrated author and visually captures the essence of Momaday’s writings. Original animation, historical photos and aerial landscapes complement interviews with indigenous authors Rilla Askew and Joy Harjo, the first Native American United States Poet Laureate.

American Masters – N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, Premiere, Monday, November 18, 9/8c, PBS (Check your local listings)