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‘Molly of Denali’ tackles ‘discrimination and stereotypes’ Alaska Natives face: ‘We’re breaking it down so young kids can understand’

Season 2 of Molly of Denali will consist of a one-hour special and 23 half-hour episodes. (Photo: PBS Kids) A new set of adventures are coming up for Molly Mabray, the 10-year-old protagonist of Molly of Denali , an award-winning PBS Kids animated series about Molly, her fictional Alaskan village and her life as an Alaska Native girl.

The second season of the series premieres the week of Nov. 1 with five new episodes, just in time for November, National Native American Heritage Month, something show producers Yatibaey Evans and Dorothea Gillim tell Yahoo Life is no coincidence.

"Through this premiere, I’m hoping more kids across the nation and world learn who the Indigenous people are they’re living amongst and see we’re still here and we’re great contributors to society," Evans, an Alaska Native herself, says. "Although we’re not always walking around sharing where we come from, we’re here and we have amazing heritage to share." Yatibaey Evans, creative producer of Molly of Denali,with her sons, who range in age from 8 to 21. (Photo: Yatibaey Evans) Evans, a mom of four, works as the creative producer for Molly of Denali and says the first episode of Season 2 — in which Molly and her brother, Tooey, face discrimination from tourists who think they don’t look "native enough" to serve as tour guides — was emotional for her to work on.

"My children are biracial and I’ve had to deal with them being both Alaska Native and Black," says Evans. "They’re more visibly Black in their features and they’ve been called the N-word before — not just one of my kids, but all of them actually. I’ve had to deal with that not just at school, but at summer camps and in my neighborhood, and it’s challenging and disappointing that in this day and age we still have to confront racism."

Working on an episode that showed Alaska Native children speaking up for themselves when discriminated against was important to Evans.

"It was very challenging as we were producing [Episode 1 of the season] not to cry because it’s so incredible to see a show that’s sharing our history as well as showing it in relation to today’s time," Evans explains. "The way we’re tackling civil rights, discrimination and stereotypes is such an amazing way, because we’re breaking it down so young kids can understand and [use what they see to] learn what’s right."

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