top of page

1. A Big Listening Project

1. A Big Listening Project

1. A Big Listening Project

1. A Big Listening Project

6. Native Historians Do Stand-Up

Episode Summary

In 1977, Charlie Hill became the first Native comedian to perform on a national TV broadcast – a groundbreaking performance in television and cultural history.  


“It was a huge moment,” said Seminole filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, “when Charlie Hill went on national television and simply spoke like a human being... He changed the public perception about what a Native person is.” 

Charlie Hill’s comedic approach to the Oneida story is part of a long lineage of storytellers and historians defying stereotypes that includes Oscar Archiquette, a young Oneida working construction when the Federal Writers’ Project came to Wisconsin in the 1935. Archiquette joined a local unit of the Writers’ Project that sought to preserve the Oneida language and histories by interviewing elders and transcribing their stories. That work – and its blend of activism, culture and disarming humor - inspired later Oneida historians such as Loretta Metoxen and Gordon McLester, and continues to inspire tribal historians today.  

Oscar Archiquette_edited_edited_edited.j
Google Play_button.png


Michelle Danforth Anderson, Oneida documentarian

Gordon McLester, Oneida historian

Loretta Metoxen, Oneida historian

Betty McLester, Oneida elder

Gerald Hill, Oneida elder

Jennifer Webster, Council Member

Further Reading

We Had a Little Real Estate Problem by Kliph Nesteroff

Oneida Lives edited by Herbert Lewis

Soul of a People by David A. Taylor

"Indian Humor" chapter in Custer Died for Your Sins by Vine Deloria Jr.


Hosted by: Chris Haley

Directed by: Andrea Kalin

Producers: Andrea Kalin, David A. Taylor and James Mirabello

Writer: David A. Taylor

Editor: Ethan Oser

Story Editing: Michael May

Additional voices provided by:

Scott Nelson Elm, Gerald Hill, Ethan Oser, and Marjorie Stevens 

Special Thanks: Christopher Powless

Featuring music and archival material from:

Oneida Singers

Joseph Vitarelli

Bradford Ellis


Library of Congress

National Archives and Records Administration



Produced with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Wisconsin Humanities

Subscribe for updates!

Thanks for subscribing!

Stone Soup Productions logo
Spark Media logo
National Endowment for the Humanities seal
Wisconsin Humanities_Logo_white.png
bottom of page