"Urban Indians" in Production


Lisa D. Olken is a veteran filmmaker. Olken produces, directs, writes and edits award-winning programs about history, art and the environment and how these impact people on a daily basis.

"Urban Indians" in Production

Date Posted: 
2011-07-19 00:00

Blog Series:


Urban Indians, formally called The Urbanization of American Indians, is in full production! We are exploring the complicated legacy of the US government's 1950s- 1970s assimilation policies that encouraged American Indians to leave their homelands and relocate to urban areas around the country.

Everyone has a story about being uprooted, transplanted and relocated but what if you were the first in your family to leave your homeland and move to a strange new environment? What if you didn't know anyone, had little money and didn't know where to turn? Or what if you found the city's bustling activity so exciting and never wanted to move back home? These are stories told from the heart. They are riveting, dramatic and authentic. Everyone speaks about identity lost and identity reclaimed, of opportunity and disenfranchisement, and living in two cultures.

The crew consists of Lisa D. Olken, Larry Pourier/ Lakota, Boots Kennedye/ Kiowa and Derek Brown/ Navajo. We've been primarily videotaping interviews and broll in Colorado but will soon branch out to Pine Ridge, South Dakota; San Pueblo, New Mexico; Fort Belknap, Fort Peck and the Crow Agency in Montana; and Oakland & Chicago.

If you have a Relocation story to share, please contact me at lisaolken@rmpbs.org.



A provocative film from the American Indian perspective that reframes today’s controversial energy debate while the fate of the environment hangs in the balance.


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Complement classroom discussion about America's energy future with this film, and help students comprehend the debate about the best use of natural resources.