Tracy Rector (Seminole) is bringing her knowledge and experience as a filmmaker, educator, and naturalist to her latest documentary Clearwater to tell a universal story about the need to adapt to change. Rector is co-directing with Lou Karsen to bring the documentary film to public television in 2014.

Anecita Agustines (Dine) and Jack Kohler (Hoopa/Yurok/Karuk) are changing the landscape in northern California for Native youth interested in television production. They are the executive producers for On Native Ground Youth Reports, a monthly entertainment broadcast on the FNX First Nations Experience Channel (www.fnx.org).

In 2000, Principal Chief Chadwick Smith saw a need to preserve the Cherokee language and to find a way to get youth involved. He got the idea to start a youth choir. A year later, the choir was in need of a new director and an administrative assistant. Fluent Cherokee speaker and tribal member Kathy Sierra was asked to step-in until a director was found. Mary Kay Henderson, a member of the Cherokee Nation, applied for the position and was chosen as director.

Denise Juneau, a member of the Mandan and Hidatsa Tribes of North Dakota, is the first American Indian woman to win a statewide election. After four years in office, she is now running for re-election as Montana's Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Written by Mark Trahant.

Interviews conducted and edited by Mark Trahant.

Native Americans make up less than one percent of the U.S. electorate. A tiny demographic slice. But even that small number has the potential to make a difference in a Western state like Montana. Native Americans make up about 8 percent of Montana, roughly 6.5 percent of all voters. A number that has been increasing since 2004. The Native American vote has become an important part of the electorate, helping to elect a governor, and six years ago, Senator Jon Tester. He won that election by only a fraction and he credits the Native American vote for his win.

A narrative feature filmmaker and third generation Italian American, Gina Abatemarco has a passion for compelling storytelling and advancing women in the film industry.

Kevin Locke (Anishinabe/Lakota) got his start as a Native flutist with songs from a vinyl record titled "Sioux Favorites." From there, he learned to play flute from Elders who knew other traditional Native flute music.

Kevin was inspired by many artists growing up because his mother, Patricia Locke, worked with numerous Native American tribes to establish colleges, promote educational programs on reservations, and aid in the restoration of Native American culture and languages.

Growing up on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, Tina Garnanez was told not to play in or near the open mines near her home. Nobody told her why, or that they led to the death of her grandfather. 

Years later she found out they were uranium mines.

During the late 1940s, America began stockpiling nuclear weapons for the Cold War. To acquire the raw nuclear materials for these weapons, uranium mines opened up across the Four Corners region of the American southwest.

Jennifer is Oneida and Lakota. She was raised mostly in Wisconsin close to her Oneida culture. Jennifer's Oneida name is Wakoshi.yo and it translates to "a bird with colorful feathers," or "peacock." She participated in the traditional Oneida naming ceremony and was given her name from her grandmother. Jennifer incorporated her Oneida name in her artwork and named her website after it.

Leanne Goose (Dene and Inuvialuit) is from the Northwest Territories of Canada. She grew up traveling with her father’s band and began her musical career at a young age. Leanne's voice mixes soft, sultry and soul into a sound like no one can. Her music can go from blues to rock to country. Leanne loves music and enjoys sharing it with an array of audiences.

Since America's inception, dynastic families have significantly influenced American history.  Names like Kennedy, Hearst, and Rockefeller are forever tied to American politics, media and business; their legacies well documented, their names widely known. But filmmaker Eli Cane believes there is room for one more dynastic American family, a Lakota-Northern Cheyenne family: The Dull Knifes.

Cody Blackbird is Eastern Band of Cherokee of North Carolina and Dakota. Cody is the youngest recipient for "Flutist of the Year" by the Native American Music Awards. He travels throughout the year performing and as a motivational speaker for Native American youth. Cody is a rising star in Indian Country and is experimenting with new things by way of flute songs. Cody collaborated with Frank Waln (Rosebud Sioux) of Nake Nula Waun on their song, “Hear my Cry." And, their song was nominated for "Best Hip-Hop Song" at the Indian Summer Music Awards.


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