Lakota

Crying Earth Rise Up is a film by Suree Towfighnia of Prairie Dust Films with consulting producer Debra White Plume (Oglala). The name of the film comes from an old belief of the Lakota that Mother Earth needs to be cared for through good stewardship of the land—caring for its natural resources.

The location for the documentary is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation—the land of the Oglala Lakota—on the South Dakota-Nebraska border.

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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Last month I joined Lakota Language Consortium (LLC) linguist and executive director Wil Meya and dozens of other Vision Maker Media-supported documentary producers in Minneapolis, MN for a lively series of workshops, and the chance to attend the incredible annual conference of the National Alliance for Media and Culture.

Jennifer is Oneida and Lakota. She was raised mostly in Wisconsin close to her Oneida culture. Jennifer's Oneida name is Wakoshi.yo and it translates to "a bird with colorful feathers," or "peacock." She participated in the traditional Oneida naming ceremony and was given her name from her grandmother. Jennifer incorporated her Oneida name in her artwork and named her website after it.

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Thanks again to the great Vision Maker Media staff for putting on the Workshop! It provided tons of useful insights into film-project planning and marketing. We can't wait to start putting some of it into action. Also, it was great meeting everyone and hearing about all your projects! I think there was a lot of mutual-inspiration happening and some of these connections will definitely be revisited.

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We screened Bridge the Gap to Pine Ridge on five different occasions at a total of four different venues both on and off the Pine Ridge Reservation in May 2012. The goal of this project was to have a dialogue with students and teachers about our film. Did we hit the mark? Did we miss it? Did we film in a culturally competent manner? During the screenings we were able to have fruitful conversations with students about how we could improve on our storytelling techniques in the future.

Since America's inception, dynastic families have significantly influenced American history.  Names like Kennedy, Hearst, and Rockefeller are forever tied to American politics, media and business; their legacies well documented, their names widely known. But filmmaker Eli Cane believes there is room for one more dynastic American family, a Lakota-Northern Cheyenne family: The Dull Knifes.

It's not easy to convince people at the Winnebago Tribe Powwow to talk about politics and the upcoming election. It's not only talking over the steady, infectious rhythm of the drum groups performing in the dance circle. There's often a sense that Native people get left off the radar of the people campaigning for office. In fact, if there's something everyone agrees on, regardless of political philosophy, it's that candidates need to make a swing through the reservation more often.

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It's not easy to convince people at the Winnebago Tribe Powwow to talk about politics and the upcoming election. It's not only talking over the steady, infectious rhythm of the drum groups performing in the dance circle. There's often a sense that Native people get left off the radar of the people campaigning for office.

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Eleven production contracts from Vision Maker Media have been approved for the delivery of documentary and new media projects to the Public Broadcasting System. “The purpose of this funding is to increase the diversity of voices available to PBS viewers,” says Vision Maker Media Executive Director Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux). “We encourage Native Americans to take on significant creative leadership roles, such as director, producer and editor. We want Native voices to have creative control, and not just in an advisory capacity.”

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In an article by Matt Goodlett of Omaha, Nebraska's The Reader, the question is raised of "What is Uranium Mining in Nebraska Doing to Pine Ridge's Drinking Water?"

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Recently, I was asked to help plan the cultural event for the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) Annual Mid-Year Conference and Marketplace, June 17-20 in Lincoln, Neb.—Vision Maker Media’s hometown. It’s been a very exciting experience and I look forward to meeting all of the conference attendees. More importantly though, it is a chance for the community to engage with Tribal leaders and representatives from across the U.S.

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