Molly of Denali goes to Los Angeles

The PBS show "Molly of Denali" has been teaching kids about Alaska native culture - now molly has been nominated for an Emmy.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 11:20 AM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Molly of Denali has been teaching kids in Alaska and around the world about Alaska Native culture for almost four years.

First premiering in 2019, Molly of Denali is a children’s show aimed at expressing Alaska Native values and history to a nationwide audience and is the first children’s show to feature an Alaska Native as the main character.

Now the critically acclaimed children’s show has been recognized by the Emmys.

“We want to make sure that we’re authentically representing Alaska Native people, and Alaska and Indigenous people as a whole,” says Yatibaey Evans, creative producer of Molly of Denali.

Each episode is geared at teaching viewers about Molly’s culture.

Princess Daazhraii Johnson, a writer and Alaska Native advisor says, “We have a curriculum, and that curriculum is informational text. But then there’s these other elements of our Alaska Native values and making sure that we embed our Alaska Native values … also some of our Alaska Native languages in the show.”

Values like respect for elders and a special relationship with the land and animals.

“As a writer, I try to write things that are like fun to me or that I can imagine Molly and Tooey and Trini and all the people in the community of Qyah partaking in, and then seemlessly add in, whether it’s like social studies, or science, or the informational text, really try to embed that into the stories,” continues Johnson.

Evans adds, “Now that we’re getting to tell our story through our own voices and our own lens and perspective, it leads an open door to all sorts of children to look up to Molly and her friends and family and see somebody who looks like them that they can relate to.”

And the impact has been felt far beyond Alaska. These efforts culminated in November with a trip to the first ever Children’s and Family Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

The show received nominations for Outstanding Preschool Animated Series and Outstanding Writing for a Preschool Animated Program.

“It’s just amazing to see how far we’ve come in sharing our stories, and now to be recognized through the Emmys is just phenomenal,” exclaims Evans.

“Even though we didn’t win either award, we went knowing that we have already won the hearts and minds of people and families and children around the world,” Johnson adds. “She made us so proud, and it was a really big deal to take up space and be on that stage in an industry and in a world that has not always seen us and celebrated us.”

Members of the creative team got the chance to meet up with Sovereign Bill, the voice of Molly, even helping to host, during their trip to Los Angeles.