Vision Maker Media's Winter Count

Vision Maker Media's Winter Count

Shirley Sneve is the Executive Director of Vision Maker Media, whose mission is to share Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Date Posted: 
2009-12-03 17:01

Blog Series:


Seasons greetings from Vision Maker Media! It’s a time of reflection and preparation for the new year. Lakota people record their reflections through the winter count. Waniyeta wowapi, in our language.

Winter counts are histories or calendars in which events are recorded by pictures, with one picture for each year.

This is our 33rd year of bringing listeners and viewers excellent TV and radio programming through public broadcasting and the Internet.

This year, the picture on the winter count is a TV transmission tower to mark the end of analog broadcasting and the digital conversion.  We bought boxes for our old TV sets or bought a new flat screen HD TV. It already seems like a long time ago.

But the digital conversion opened new doors for viewers—and for Vision Maker Media programming. This year, we released six video documentaries and two Native Radio Theater programs.

  • Waila: Making the People Happy by Dan Golding about chicken scratch music of the Southwest.
  • Jim Thorpe, The World’s Greatest Athlete by Tom Weidlinger and Joe Bruchac.
  • Power Paths by Bo Boudart, Chris Phillip, and Norman Brown. Featured on Independent Lens, it looks at the quest of tribes for renewable energy.
  • River of Renewal by Stephen Most and Jack Kohler accounts the damming of the Klamath River.
  • To Brooklyn and Back: A Mohawk Journey by Reaghan Tarbell and Paul Rickard. It’s the history of the women behind the Native steelworkers who changed the skyline in New York City.
  • For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska by Jeff Silverman tells the story of Elizabeth Peratovich and other Alaska Native civil rights leaders.

And on the radio, The Red Road, a one woman show by Arigon Starr, and Raven’s Radio Hour, a variety show set in Alaska. Native Radio Theater is a project with Native Voices at the Autry.

Native Sounds-Native Voices and The Drum are weekly shows that Vision Maker Media staff create for Lincoln’s community radio station and the AIROS Native Network—Vision Maker Media’s own 24/7 Internet radio station. Web specialist Eric Martin works with students in hosting the program. Sina Bear Eagle and Aden Marshall co-hosted the program until the fall. Sina got an opportunity to study in England, so Tobias Grant took over the microphone. Tobias also carries on a family tradition—he’s Vision Maker Media founder Frank Blythe’s grandson.

In addition to programming, we’ve provided training opportunities and launched new websites for, and

Vision Maker Media’s mission is to share Native stories with the World, and we’d like you to join us by making a tax deductable contribution. 

Your support helps make these important Native stories possible. Thanks and happy new year!

Editors Note: AIROS Native Network is now defunct as a radio station. Native programming can still be found online at

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