Growing Native

Drugs, alcohol, poor education, and poverty are all common problems in Indian Country, and tribes everywhere are constantly trying to find ways to win those battles.

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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.

Growing Native will be a seven-part series focusing on reclaiming traditional knowledge and food ways to address critical issues of health and wellness, the environment and human rights.

Growing Native started out with a tomato. It was, at first glance, just a regular tomato – round, red, and quite delicious. But on a cold winter day many years ago, Vision Maker Media’s Executive Director Shirley K. Sneve (Sicangu Lakota) thought about that tomato for a minute and something clicked.

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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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The production team for the upcoming Vision Maker Media series Growing Native recently came together to put the finishing touches on the Northwest episode. Chris Eyre (Southern Cheyenne/Arapaho) stopped by our offices in Lincoln, Nebraska on his way to the Sundance Film Festival.

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Happy new year! Back in the office and off the Christmas couch! What are your favorite holiday foods? Oyster stew on Christmas Eve is a tradition that my mother brought to our table. What a delicacy! At our house, the stew took on a different look this year. Daughter Bonita and I are somewhat lactose intolerant these days, so instead of cream, we used broth. Making tamales is a tradition that my husband Tom and I started (by reading a cookbook by Diana Kennedy).

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Films

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

Filmmakers

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

Educators

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