TV

Current, the online newpaper of public broadcasting, reports six of the 14 2015 Alfred I duPont-Columbia University journalism awards went to public broadcasters.

Read the full article here.

Horse Tribe, a new one-hour documentary premiering this November from Director/Producer Janet Kern, explores the renaissance of the legendary horse culture of the Nez Perce–with the help of a charismatic Navajo horseman, Rudy Shebala.

Shebala has an exceptional gift of equine expertise, but faces challenges in Idaho–a land far from his traditional Navajo home. His intuitive mentorship also guides at-risk teenagers to develop self-esteem through the strong medicine of horses. With his passion for Native American identity, he brings national attention to Nez Perce horse culture. However, Shebala’s personal demons ultimately imperil his accomplishments for the tribe.

Kern originally set out to the Nez Perce to portray children and society flourishing in the company of horses, and the adaption of an ancient equestrian tradition into one with a modern purpose. But as the story evolved over the years, it became more complex. A man was in crisis and a community was in conflict–leaving their beloved herd to an uncertain fate.

Horse Tribe is an epic story about the connection of human to animal, history to life, individuals to community, grief to resolve, and values to action. Through her own experience, Kern recounts, “The inexplicably generous instincts of a people who have experienced incomprehensible loss are a lesson, a mystery, and a gift to me and to everyone they touch.”

Horse Tribe received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media.  For viewing information in your area, please visit www.visionmakermedia.org/watch

About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships, and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media–to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visitwww.visionmakermedia.org.
(Lincoln, Neb.): Across the Creek, a new 30-minute documentary premiering this November from director/producer Jonny Cournoyer (Rosebud Sioux), explores the Lakota people’s struggle for the restoration of a cultural legacy. Broken by colonialism and with both the unbridled dreams and the painful reality of today, the film is a conversation between the elder and younger generations.
Faced with unfathomable challenges, Lakota peoples are taking steps to make a better life for their tribal members. A major initiative is to empower people who were once taught that Indian ways were inferior. In Across the Creek, everyday heroes are turning around this negative history by reclaiming stories, visions, and core values that once did effectively guide a healthy and productive tribal lifestyle. By looking at traditional family structure, spirituality, language, and values, they hope to build a sustaining vision for the future.

In Across the Creek, the land plays a major role. The screen fills with beautiful images of rolling plains, badlands, and Black Hills that are sacred to the Lakota. Ties to the land define the people, just as Lakota language allows them to fully express their worldviews and beliefs. Much of the effort to reclaim Lakota lifeways addresses tribal language and land in some way.

“It is a heavy shirt to wear,” explains Sage Fast Dog, who is striving to honor the role he has been asked to play in the lives of his students. A fairly new teacher who was drafted unexpectedly into teaching the Lakota language, Sage is not a fluent speaker and is learning many words right along with his middle-school students.

Sage’s mentor, the late Albert White Hat, is a Lakota studies icon. In his early days, he left the reservation in search of work, traveling from Denver to Los Angeles, barely scraping by at times–sometimes as a homeless person on the street. After returning to his homelands, he eventually was hired to teach Lakota culture by the same mission school that had denigrated it in his own boyhood. In addition to writing multiple books, White Hat later guided the Lakota Studies department at the reservation’s tribal college. He speaks in depth on the principles of traditional Lakota beliefs and values, the current state of the youth on the reservation, and his own hopes and visions for the future.

Sam Wounded Head, a medicine man whose first language is Lakota, speaks of his 50-year journey to find spiritual power. Sam’s wife, Norma, shares her memories of early life on the reservation and the importance family played in everyday life out in the country. The couple, now deceased, offer a moving glimpse of a generation whose window is closing.

Like others, Florentine Blue Thunder is convinced that Lakota language is the key to renewing a positive identity with the Native youth. Not only will it continue as a focus on both the educational and socioeconomic fronts, but in the context of daily life. If children can be raised in a nurturing, supportive environment as opposed to the negative reality that many face in high-poverty areas today, there can be personal healing.

Mike Prue is one such example. After spending his high school years in a blur of drugs and alcohol, even serving prison time for illegal drugs, he vowed to change his life. Mike began to embrace ceremonies and traditions. Today, he collaborates with medicine men who are still in their 20s. Similarly, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation is engaging dozens if not scores of young people by authentically practicing culture. Nick Tilsen is a young leader who has found that–with a few visible examples of positive action–the most powerful strategy to healing is just “walking the talk.” Or put another way, “by crossing the creek.”

Across the Creek–which received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media–is an offering of PBS Plus. This half-hour documentary will be available to public television stations nationwide on Friday, October 31, 2014, with rights beginningSaturday, November 1, 2014. This program is suggested for scheduling for Native American Heritage Month. For viewing information in your area, please visit www.visionmakermedia.org/watch.

About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships, and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media–to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visitwww.visionmakermedia.org.

About PBS Plus
PBS Plus is an optional programming service for public television stations, providing fully underwritten series and specials. Over 99% of PBS stations subscribe to this service-reaching 100% national TV households. Annually, stations are provided with approximately 600 hours of programming.

Lincoln, Neb.: Spirit in Glass: Plateau Native Beadwork provides a rare opportunity to experience Plateau culture through the eyes and hearts of the artists themselves. Narrated by Nez Perce storyteller Nakia Williamson, the film focuses on bead artists from the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Yakama Reservations. The talented individuals behind this spectacular beadwork share their history, motivation, and the key role that beadwork plays in binding their culture together. This half-hour documentary from Mimbres Fever Productions and Vision Maker Media will air on Public Television stations nationwide with broadcast rights beginning October 24.

Truly an American story, the very essence of this art form and its story of survival is indeed a glimpse at the heartfelt tradition of a people. The documentary was filmed throughout the culturally rich northwest Plateau and mid-Columbia River regions with the mission of celebrating the Plateau People while respecting the vital role that their adaptability has played in their cultural diversity and maintaining of a tradition.

The beadwork tradition began to flourish during the restrictive times of the Reservation Period. Deeply rooted in the basketry traditions, skilled artists moved from geometric basket designs to floral motifs.

“Creativity and individuality is a shared Plateau cultural value. It is expressed in the woven flat bags and other artistic traditions,” commented Penny Phillips, director and producer of the film.

Adventurers, traders, and settlers began traveling through the area in the 1840s, bringing small glass beads in a variety of colors to trade for Native goods. Grandmothers started using beads as a medium to create and offer gifts to family members and trading partners, reinforcing traditional values while developing a new, artistic tradition. Beadwork became a way to show identity and to maintain culture.

One of the more memorable aspects of beadwork is the uniqueness of each beaded piece. For each beadwork creation holds special meaning for the person who made it and for the person for whom it was made.

“In the Indian way, when you give that special piece, it’s a way to heal your heart,” shared Rose Scott, a bead artist from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Pictorial beadwork is unique to the area. Since this style of beadwork started in a time of catastrophic upheaval, it serves as a metaphor for the vibrancy and survival of the Native culture. In order to keep their culture alive, the elders adapted by beading individual images and stories. And today, many artists have made a particular beadwork creation their specialty–as a contribution to their generation.

Spirit in Glass: Plateau Native Beadwork–which received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media–is an offering of the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA). This half-hour documentary will be available to public television stations nationwide on Friday, October 24, 2014. This program is suggested for scheduling for Native American Heritage Month. For viewing information in your area, please visitwww.visionmakermedia.org/watch.