Growing Native

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Boots Kennedye has been on the road listening to stories about the tribes of the Great Lakes region for the Vision Maker Media series, Growing Native.

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Breastfeeding is not unique to humans. All 4,000 species of mammals produce a milk designed specifically for their infants.

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Pueblos created their communities around the activity of farming. The soils in Pueblo territory were variable as was the availability of water.

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I've attended many ceremonies and community gatherings throughout Indian Country over the years. It doesn't matter what kind of gathering it is, for celebration, healing or saying good-bye to a loved one, there are similarities among them. Everyone pitches in to make them a success, there is the love and sense of community felt by those who attend, and there is food--A LOT of it.  

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It is an honor to be part of the Advisory Committee for GROWING NATIVE. As a nurse practitioner who works with people who have diabetes, I appreciate the meaningful opportunity to support efforts of tribes, tribal organizations and tribal people who are reclaiming their health by revitalizing traditional practices. The epidemics of obesity and diabetes have had devastating impacts on all Americans but most especially on Native Americans.

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Ah, summertime in Indian Country!  For me it means so much more than those homegrown 4th of July parades, powwows and gatherings. Summer showcases community and Native people’s uncanny ability to make something fun, useful and spiritually nurturing out of even the most limited resources. 

This season also highlights the exuberant heart of Native folks and reminds the world that even though ours is an ancient culture, we are indeed a vibrant part of the contemporary world.

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It was very interesting watching my daughter throughout the pregnancy. Our family has always been very “food conscious”, preferring the organic, maintaining a garden to insure food quality, and resisting the lure of fast foods (maybe I should state “trying to”).

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As in the United States, young native people in Mexico are looking for, finding and reviving their language and health traditions.

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Food is my final addiction frontier. Unlike alcohol, drugs and smoking, however, it is a stubborn presence that will remain a part of life forever.

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What does Growing Native mean to you? That is a question we posed to the Growing Native Advisory Council as we went through pre-production. The answers we received were varied, but connected – it’s growing us as a people in a way that sustains us as a people, it’s taking things that we knew and that worked in the past and building on that, it’s illustrating the interconnectedness of everything that we do.

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This February, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel up to Alaska to film the latest episode of Growing Native. This trip would be the first of two as host Chris Eyre explores Alaska and all its Native cultures has to offer. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Alaska is a special place. Having never been to Alaska before, I was anxious to discover for myself just what exactly all the hoopla was about, and I figured two days would be enough. I was coming to Alaska with a mission – locate that elusive quality that takes the breath away and get it on film.

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Native stories that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives for your station!

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Current funding, job, and training opportunities that support the production of Native content. Plus, additional information for filmmakers.

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Hands-on educational tools for middle school to college-aged students that increase the Impact of Native films in the classroom.