Chippewa

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.

This series shares contemporary stories about Native peoples to educate and entertain viewers, empower Indigenous peoples and bridge culture gaps. It seeks to shatter stereotypes, promote positivity and show the world who we really are.

The first film to document the story of Michigan's Native Americans in the Civil War who served in Company K of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. During the Civil War a regiment of sharpshooters was being recruited to fight for the Union. Since Michigan's Native Americans were famous as skilled hunters, it was decided to recruit one company--Company K--from among the tribes in Michigan.

This exciting and compelling one hour documentary invites viewers into the lives of contemporary Native American role models living in the Midwest. It dispels the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the American horizon, and reveals how they continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society. Their experiences will deeply touch both Natives and non-Natives and help build bridges of understanding, respect, and communication.

Injunuity is a collage of reflections on the Native American world, our shared past, our turbulent present, and our undiscovered future. From Columbus to the western expansion to tribal casinos, we are taught that the Native way, while at times glorious, is something of the past, something that needed to be replaced by a manifest destiny from across the ocean. But in a world increasingly short of real answers, it is time we looked to Native wisdom for guidance. It is time for some Injunuity.

John Williams is Sisseton-Dakota and Chippewa. He started playing instruments in middle school and has since grown his musical talents to span over a wide-range of instruments. John is a founding member of the Native Reggae band Native Roots.

Pam Belgarde has worked in Native media for over 30 years. She has produced programs for broadcast as well as projects for use in Native communities such as the award-winning Rez-Robics for Couch-Potato Skins.

As a multi-ethnic, multi-tribal person, I was raised on a reservation not my own (Mescalero) and in an environment (SW mountians & desert) that is a far cry from my tribal ancestoral environment (Great Lakes).

Become a first eye-witness in the journey of Dr. Arne Vainio (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) as he realizes that he needs to digest and personally implement the advice that he gives his own middle-aged patients upon his impending 50th birthday.

Ivy Vainio is an independent filmmaker, Multicultural Student Services Specialist at the University of Wisconsin- Superior, and the wife of "Walking into the Unknown" subject Arne Vainio.

Robin Butterfield is senior liaison for minority community outreach at the National Education Association, and is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska with ancestry also from the White Earth Ojibwa Tribe of Minnesota.

Dustin Owl Johnson hails from Haslett, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts with a focus on production. He has written and directed seven short films.

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