Youth

A stunning coming-of-age journey from the Pine Ridge Reservation, set against a background of rising tension and protest, a Lakota/Northern Cheyenne teenager learns first-hand what it means to lead a new generation and enter adulthood in a world where the odds are stacked against him.

Q. Why is it important to have films created, written, and produced by Natives in today’s media?

Q. Why is it important to have films created, written, and produced by Natives in today’s media?

A. Indian Country is home to compelling and important stories just waiting to be told and voices which need to be heard. Who better to tell these stories than Natives filmmakers? As a fan of documentary film, I want to hear what Native filmmaker’s have to say, I want to hear new voices. The documentary landscape should always evolve and expand, and diversity is the key to all of this.

Every Monday night in the small community of Shiprock, New Mexico, a group of young Navajo leaders meet to decide how they will help their community. For more than seven years, the Northern Diné Youth Committee has worked to give youth opportunities to directly make changes within their community. But while the NDYC works to make changes, many members also consider their own futures, commitments to family and the world outside of the Shiprock. While they love their community, they all must consider their options both on and off the reservation.

What does it take for a contemporary Native family to thrive on their reservation? Badger Creek is a portrait of Native resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on the reservation in Montana. The loving and sober Momberg family members run a successful ranch, live a traditional worldview and are relearning their language.

In the Beginning was Water and Sky is a short-form New Media project that tells two parallel stories about a Chippewa boy who runs away from an Indian Boarding School in the 1950s and a Chippewa girl who runs away from her village in the 1700s.

From Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself), Keep Talking follows four Alaska Native women learning to teach their critically endangered language. Only 41 fluent Elders still speak Kodiak Alutiiq due to brutal assimilation policies at U.S. government run Indian boarding schools. The grit and resilience of these women helps them overcome historical trauma, politics and personal demons as they evolve into #languagewarriors.

Ohero:kon - Under the Husk is a documentary that follows two Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) girls on their challenging journey to becoming women. They both take part in a four-year adolescent passage rites ceremony that has been revived in their community.

Navajo Math Circles follows Navajo students in a lively collaboration with mathematicians. Using a model called math circles, the students stay late after school and assemble over the summer at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona, to study mathematics. The math circles approach emphasizes student-centered learning by putting children in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction.

In 2012, a film that Randy Vasquez directed and I produced, called The Thick Dark Fog, was broadcast nationwide on PBS. The film tells the story of Lakota elder Walter Littlemoon’s journey of healing from his American Indian boarding school experiences. During the production of the film, we spoke to many Native elders who had gone to boarding school.

For centuries survival was difficult for Alaska Native peoples, but they lived full lives. Today survival is easier, but they are dying young. Alaska Native peoples sustained their way of life through a social, cultural and spiritual balance, but the traumatic ramifications of colonization have left many scars that continue to be passed down from generation to generation. 

Pages

 
Subscribe to Youth
 

Stations

Five Vision Maker Media Films Streaming Free in November on PBS

Watch these films during November, just click on the link to watch.

Filmmakers


• Veterans' Day Special - Free viewings: Nov. 9-12 on VMM's YouTube Channel
• Native Documentaries on Special for November
• Filmmaker Challenges: Importance of Protecting Creativity
• Celebrating 50 Years of Public Broadcasting
• Filmmaker Opportunities
• Upcoming Film Screenings
•To Edit or Not to Edit Your Own FIlms: Wat's Your Choice?
• Find Us On the Road