Molly of Denali Marks First National Children’s Show With Native American Lead

A new cartoon about a 10-year-old Native girl in Alaska has captured the heart of people across the country.

More than 60 Native people helped create Molly of Denali.

Dennis Zotigh praises the show for its accurate representation of Native cultures and customs.

“My 81-year-old father saw the first segment with me and I asked him, ‘What did you get out of this?’ He said, ‘I think it will open doors for our people,” Zotigh explained.

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye appreciates how the show doesn’t generalize Native people.

“They name specifically a place she’s from and also point out customs and traditions,” Bennett-Begaye said.

Ani Begay Auld cried when watching an episode where Molly learns that her grandfather stopped singing Native songs after going to an Indian boarding school.

“My own parents went to boarding school. A lot of people don’t like to talk about it just as Molly of Denali’s grandpa didn’t like to talk about it. I thought it was really beautiful how his little granddaughter had gone to such great lengths to get his drum back and encourage her grandpa to bring the songs back,” Begay Auld said.

Molly of Denali premiered on PBS Kids on July 15. A prequel podcast came out in May.