Sioux

Broken by the legacy of colonialism, Lakota Tribes struggle for restoration, healing and rebuilding. This film is a conversation between the elder and younger generations about reclaiming their stories and culture. By looking at traditional family structure, spirituality, language and values, they hope to build a vision for the future.

In the early summer of 2013, Kevin Abourezk, Rose Bud Sioux, allowed me to record his everyday activities at the newspaper.

Minneapolis has one of the largest urban Indian populations.

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.

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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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.

Cody Blackbird is Eastern Band of Cherokee of North Carolina and Dakota. Cody is the youngest recipient for "Flutist of the Year" by the Native American Music Awards. He travels throughout the year performing and as a motivational speaker for Native American youth. Cody is a rising star in Indian Country and is experimenting with new things by way of flute songs. Cody collaborated with Frank Waln (Rosebud Sioux) of Nake Nula Waun on their song, “Hear my Cry." And, their song was nominated for "Best Hip-Hop Song" at the Indian Summer Music Awards.

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.

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.

Bridge the Gap to Pine Ridge exposes viewers to a positive, fresh perspective of life on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Hosted and executive produced by 24-year-old New Yorker Chris Bashinelli, Bridge the Gap to Pine Ridge follows Bashinelli as he drops in on the day-to-day lives of local residents to find out about life on Pine Ridge, their stories and how they see themselves in the larger context of the world.

Myron Longsoldier knows firsthand what it's like to be young, lost, and Native American. By the time he was 9 years old, he had already experienced a bad hangover.
 

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