I had the opportunity to interview Frank Blythe, who is my grandpa and Founding Executive Director of Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc. (NAPT), as well as my mom, Francine Blythe, who is Executive Director of the National Geographic All Roads Film Project. The three of us were in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the same time and we got together for a cookout.

Standing Bear’s Footsteps, the new historical documentary by Christine Lesiak and Princella Parker (Omaha), tells the story of one of America’s original civil rights activists, Ponca Chief Standing Bear.

“The film is about what it means to be a person as told through the life of a Ponca Indian Chief, and his struggle to be free,” said Christine Lesiak, executive producer, writer and director of Standing Bear’s Footsteps.

Blog Series:

After the Ponca’s were forced to move from their home by the Niobrara to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, Chief Standing Bear's son Bear Shield died of Malaria. Bear Shield’s dying wish was for his father to bury his body in the old Ponca burying ground by the Niobrara, 500 miles away. Standing Bear’s journey to keep his promise to Bear Shield brought him to places he could have never imagined.

Princella Parker worked as the Associate Producer for Standing Bear's Footsteps, a 60-minute historical documentary which was broadcast nation-wide in October 2012 on PBS. The documentary was funded in part by Vision Maker Media.

Reporter Aden Marshall speaks with Mike Wolf, Richard Lasely, Gary Lasely and Eugene Gilipin about Ponca history and the significance of Chief Standing Bear.

Interviews conducted and edited by Aden Marshall with assistance from Eric Martin.

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The Crazy Horse Memorial, a 563-foot stature of Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, located outside of Custer, South Dakota, is the ideal setting to introduce the fundamentals of journalism to Native American youth. Not only are the Black Hills of South Dakota inspiring and beautiful but standing next to the 87.5 foot-tall face of Crazy House is magical. I’ve been going to the Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop for 5 years now and I can only imagine what the first time students must have thought and felt.


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