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News

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What does Growing Native mean to you? That is a question we posed to the Growing Native Advisory Council as we went through pre-production. The answers we received were varied, but connected – it’s growing us as a people in a way that sustains us as a people, it’s taking things that we knew and that worked in the past and building on that, it’s illustrating the interconnectedness of everything that we do.

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The month of February found me back at the Ponca tribal community of White Eagle working with the students to create a video for the American Graduate Film festival. The video is to address the festival theme is, the dropout crisis in America. The plan was to bring back the students from the Standing Bear's Meaning of Home summer program for another round of making digital media with Mac Air books using I-movie. With the deadline the first of March, we beganwith classes twice a week.

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As a relatively new member of the Vision Maker Media board of directors, I have been on a steep learning curve. I am so honored to have the opportunity to explore the whole arena of public television and film development for Native people, especially being an educator where we are always looking for authentic, relevant, culturally based materials to further educate ourselves and others. I am a Hochunk/Anishanabe with over 40 years of experience as an educator, focusing mostly on Native and multicultural education.

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This February, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel up to Alaska to film the latest episode of Growing Native. This trip would be the first of two as host Chris Eyre explores Alaska and all its Native cultures has to offer. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Alaska is a special place. Having never been to Alaska before, I was anxious to discover for myself just what exactly all the hoopla was about, and I figured two days would be enough. I was coming to Alaska with a mission – locate that elusive quality that takes the breath away and get it on film.

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Even though nearly all of 1973 America knew of the occupation of the little village of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation and came to know of the atrocious conditions under which many of the Lakota people lived out their lives, time has faded memories.

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As an Alaska Native woman passionate about seeking protections for the land and indigenous people of our state, I find the life of Elizabeth Peratrovich truly inspiring. For this woman, to stand up and speak her heart and mind in a room full of scorn, with all the cards stacked against her, is tribute to the unconquerable spirit of Alaska Native people.

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The production team for the upcoming Vision Maker Media series Growing Native recently came together to put the finishing touches on the Northwest episode. Chris Eyre (Southern Cheyenne/Arapaho) stopped by our offices in Lincoln, Nebraska on his way to the Sundance Film Festival.

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The Vision Maker Media/NAMAC conference began the following day and I was honored to hear from some amazing folks at Vision Maker Media. I will post some of the pictures I took with a quick note about what the speaker offered/said.

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A New Year often brings new beginnings, and 2013 is no exception for our organization. After much review and discussion over the past year, we're now officially Vision Maker Media. We hope you're as excited for the name change as much as we are!

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Happy new year! Back in the office and off the Christmas couch! What are your favorite holiday foods? Oyster stew on Christmas Eve is a tradition that my mother brought to our table. What a delicacy! At our house, the stew took on a different look this year. Daughter Bonita and I are somewhat lactose intolerant these days, so instead of cream, we used broth. Making tamales is a tradition that my husband Tom and I started (by reading a cookbook by Diana Kennedy).

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