Drop Out Crisis

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.

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I recently taught digital media to a group of Southern Ponca students at White Eagle Oklahoma for the Standing Bear’s Footsteps project. The class began with nine students who were selected the Ponca Tribal Education Department. The students varied in age from 10 to 14, that’s fifth to eighth grade, 4 girls and 5 boys. This was a six-week project, with classes held 2 ½ days per week.

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If you’ve been following my blogs, of if you know me, you should know how passionate I am about Native media. In the recent years, I’ve taken a deeper interest in Native American Educational Media and decided to get yet another degree focusing on this subject. I’ve been involved with learning and teaching media for over 10 years now and I am starting to see the Native communities becoming more technically savvy, more involved in digital storytelling and more passionate about not only pre

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I spent 10 weeks as a Vision Maker Media Multimedia Intern at KVCR/First Nations Experience (FNX) public television station in San Bernardino, Calif.

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I was honored to sit on the panel, “Building Community Awareness through Long Form Documentaries” at the AFI SilverDocs Festival this year. Moderated by Doug McKenney, Executive Producer of CPB’s Public Awareness Initiative, the panel also included Sandy St. Louis, Project Manager for Frontline’s Dropout Nation, Jacquie Jones, Executive Director of the National Black Programming Consortium and Executive Producer of DC Met: Life Inside School Reform and Tanishia Williams-Minor, the high school principal featured in DC Met.

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The study reports results of American Indian and Alaska Native students grades 4 and 8 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), as well as the results of a special survey of American Indian and Alaska Native students, their teachers, and their school administrators—focusing on Native language and culture related to the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students. Here are some highlights from the report.

Julie Cajune is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana. She holds a bachelor's in elementary education and a master's in bilingual education. Julie was the first to teach the Salish language in the school system on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. She is also the executive director of the Center for American Indian Policy and Applied Research of the Heartlines Project. She was profiled in UTNE Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.”

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I recently attended imagineNative where my film, Up Heartbreak Hill, had its Canadian premiere. The festival was amazing – it ran from Oct. 19 – 23 in Toronto and was a whirlwind of films, panels and networking opportunities. The festival kicked off with a screening of On the Ice and The Country of Wolves, which were both phenomenal. At the opening night party, I had the chance to chat with a number of Khoi-San filmmakers and artists, who were there as a part of the delegation representing South Africa’s indigenous community.

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I just finished reading an article by Cheryl Crazy Bull on behalf of Indian Country Today Media Network. The article, entitled "Education is Key to Prosperity,"really struck a chord with me, and I must say that I whole-heartedly agree.

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I received valuable professional information about working as a documentary producer during the Media for Change workshop with Molly Murphy from Working Films on August 19 of this year. I am fundamentally a writer, director, cinematographer and editor, but I will be making my first foray into documentary producing for an upcoming project in my company, Red Ant Films.

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The Media for Change workshop held by Vision Maker Media brought to light many of the challenges facing both educators and independent producers today. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the needs and desires of educators, the model of the independent producer engaged in content creation for public television, and the shifting realities of funding and distribution.

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Rarely a day goes by where I don’t thank the forces of social networking and how it has helped my film along in many ways. I credit Facebook- without hesitation- for bringing in thousands of dollars to my fundraising campaign on Kickstarter this past June from one single email plea to my friends, family and colleagues.

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