Historical

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.

MANKILLER explores the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation who led her people in building one of the strongest Indian Tribes in America. More than a biography, the program delivers an empowering message. 

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attempts to take their land to build Kinzua Dam, the Seneca people stand up to the government and prevailing political forces of the 1950s and 60s to save their culture, their sovereignty, and their way of life to preserve their future. This film explores the history of Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania and its impact on the Seneca Nation.

An Eastern Shoshone Elder and two Northern Arapaho youth living on the Wind River Indian Reservation attempt to learn why thousands of ancestral artifacts are in the darkness of underground archives of museums and churches, boxed away and forgotten. Like millions of indigenous people in many parts of the world, they do not control their own material culture. It is being preserved, locked away, by ‘outsiders’ who themselves do not know what they have.

Medicine Woman, interweaves the lives of Native American women healers of today with the story of America’s first Native doctor, Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1915). The one-hour PBS documentary, produced by and about women, asks the pivotal question:  What does it take to heal a people?  

For decades, thousands of Navajos worked the railroads, maintaining the trans-continental network. Metal Road explores the dynamics of livelihood, family and the railroads through the lens of a Navajo trackman. The film follows three Navajo railroaders from the 9001 Heavy Steel Gang as they leave their homeland to replace aging railroad tracks from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean under extreme weather conditions.

In A Seat at the Drum, journalist Mark Anthony Rolo (Bad River Ojibwe) journeys to L.A., the city that filled his imagination as a child. There he meets many of the thousands of American Indian families who were relocated from poor reservations to the cities in the last half of the 20th century, creating the largest Native American community in the nation -- over 200,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A personal story of how a multi-million dollar project displaced the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation in North Dakota. Through interviews and archival footage, a uniquely Native American perspective emerges, giving light to a portrait of resilience and survival in the face of catastrophic change.

At the age of five, Walter Littlemoon (Lakota) was removed from his family to attend a federal government boarding school where his culture, language and spirituality were suppressed. Embark on Walter's journey to heal himself and his community while reclaiming his heritage.

In 1877, the Ponca people were exiled from their Nebraska homeland to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. To honor his dying son's last wish to be buried in his homeland, Chief Standing Bear set-off on a grueling, 600-mile journey home. Captured en-route, Standing Bear sued a famous U.S. army general for his freedom.

An increasing number of Native Americans are leaving the Reservation for life in city areas such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and the San Francisco Bay area. The life of urban Indians is shown primarily through the eyes of these individuals as they attempt to maintain their cultural identity while living away from the Reservation.

Renowned sculptor John Houser has a dream to build the world's tallest bronze equestrian statue for the city of El Paso, Texas--a stunning monument to Spanish conquistador Juan de Onate that will honor the contributions Hispanic people made to the American West. However, Native Americans are outraged.

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