American Graduate

In the new film Up Heartbreak Hill, Thomas Martinez, resident of Crystal New Mexico, a community on the Navajo Reservation, tells viewers about the realities of life on the Reservation. “Around here everyone thinks they live in a third world country,” explains Thomas, “what I hear from people is that living in Navajo is just straight up bad.” Thomas attends high school in Navajo, a nearby town of about 2000 people with a per capita income of $4,600 and a high school graduation rate of 56%.

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A school in the San Francisco Bay area with roots to a historical occupation and a graduation activity that involves 3-year old students beading their own graduation belts may soon close its doors. Students, alumni, parents, staff and community members have pledged to do whatever it takes to save Hintil Kuu Ca, a pre-kindergarten child development center (CDC) they say is unlike any other.

Filmmaker Milt Lee cannot stomach Hollywood’s compulsion to relegate Native Americans to one of two places - a pedestal of historic glorification that makes them all spiritual leaders, healers, etc. or as the poster child of the third world in America. He tackles this perception head-on in his latest documentary Video Letters from Prison, to be released this Spring.

This student film compares dropping out of school to becoming like a zombie, due to the impact that it will have on a person's future.

A group of kids celebrate their father, whose commitment to their education propels them toward graduation.

A chorus of Ponca tribe voices come together in this intergenerational plea for the role of a good education in preserving cultural heritage.

Makala is a Native American student athlete who must balance her time between sports and school.

A young Ponca boy is at odds with his father over the importance of staying in school to complete his education, or joining the work force.

Native American Actor Zahn McClarnon (Standing Rock Sioux) shares his stories on why graduating high school is very important.

Film Writer and Director, Tim Ramos (California Pomo) shares his stories on why graduating high school is very important.

Aboriginal Fashion Designer, Sho Sho Esquiro (Kaska Dene/ Cree) shares her stories on why graduating high school is very important.

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