Later this month, Pope Francis will visit the United States.  During his visit, the Pope will canonize 18th century Spanish priest Junipero Serra, who founded the first nine Spanish Missions in California.  Serra traveled from his station in Mexico to bring Christianity to the Native population of California. The Pope has called Serra “the evangelizer of the West in the United States.”
However, the decision to raise Serra to sainthood has sparked controversy among California Indians. Historians speculate that Serra may have intended to convert California Indians, but the Spanish soldiers who populated the missions had other motives.
Many believe Serra allowed Spanish soldiers to commit atrocities against the Native peoples of California.    Soldiers administered corporal punishment and committed sexual assault against Natives.
Some see Serra as a saint, while others paint him the villain.   Saint explores both sides of the controversy.   This film was produced by Vision Maker Media’s intern, Charles Perry, as part of his multimedia internship with KVCR/FNX. Watch online

Grab is an intimate portrait of the little-documented Grab Day in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, who annually throw water and food items from the rooftop of a home to people standing below them. A community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks and renewal, Grab Day exists at the intersection of traditional Native and contemporary Western cultures. Billy Luther’s film, which is narrated by Parker Posey, follows three families as they prepare for the annual event, chronicling their lives for the year leading up to this day.

Columbus Day Legacy examines the quintessential American issues of free speech and ethnic pride against the backdrop of the ongoing Columbus Day Parade controversy in Denver.

Since 1992, the 500th Anniversary of America’s “discovery” of America, the Italian-American community in Denver has publicly and wholeheartedly celebrated its revered holiday, much to the dismay of many local Native Americans. Columbus Day Legacy conveys the strong sense of community and cultural pride that both Italian Americans and Native Americans hold.

The history of the annual parade in Denver has been peppered with both verbal and physical violence, as well as numerous instances in which city leaders have had to reconcile issues of political correctness and freedom of assembly. Tensions rise as Denver’s Native American and Italian-American communities publicly fight over race, history and what it means to be an “American.”

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the Emmy Award-winning program, Sesame Street, and HBO, the nation’s leading premium cable network, today announced a new partnership that will make the next five seasons of the iconic series available on HBO and its multiplex channels, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and the new internet only SVOD service HBO NOW. As a key part of the deal, Sesame will be able to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons, and for the first time ever, make the show available free of charge to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.

“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO. “It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Street and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay cable and SVOD access to the nation’s most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”

In addition to the next five seasons of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop will produce a Sesame Street Muppet™ spinoff series, as well as develop a new original educational series for children. HBO has also licensed over 150 library episodes of Sesame Street. The new episodes will begin airing as early as late fall 2015, and HBO will be the exclusive, first-run subscription television distribution partner for Sesame Street and the new series. HBO will have the right to air all series in both English and Spanish. All new series will also be made available to PBS and its member stations after the first window. Episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be made available, uninterrupted, as part of the PBS KIDS service on PBS member stations.

“We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop’s mission for the nation’s kids and families,” said Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO of HBO, and Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming. “Home Box Office is committed to bringing the most groundbreaking and creative shows to its audience. Sesame Street is the most important preschool education program in the history of television. We are delighted to be a home for this extraordinary show, helping Sesame Street expand and build its franchise.”

“I’ve long admired the creative work of HBO and can’t think of a better partner to continue the quality of Sesame Street’s programming,” commented Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Street. “Over the past decade, both the way in which children are consuming video and the economics of the children’s television production business have changed dramatically. In order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.”

In addition to Sesame Street, HBO will also license approximately 50 past episodes of the two acclaimed children’s series Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series for preschoolers that focuses on early literacy, and The Electric Company, which was rebooted in 2009, from Sesame Workshop.

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Delivered through a variety of platforms, including television programs, digital experiences, books and community engagement, its research-based programs are tailored to the needs of the communities and countries they serve. For more information, visit us at

About Home Box Office

Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. and the world’s most successful pay TV service, providing the two television services – HBO® and Cinemax® – to approximately 122 million subscribers worldwide. The services offer the popular subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand®, as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. HBO NOWSM, the network’s internet only premium streaming service, provides audiences with instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming in the U.S. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 60 countries. HBO and Cinemax programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide.

Join us for the fourth annual Webby Award-nominated PBS Online Film Festival. This year’s Festival features 25 short-form independent films from various station and producing partners.

Vision Maker Media is pleased to offer Jeffrey Palmer’s uplifting short film, Isabelle’s Garden–a story of a community coming together in reciprocity, through the hopes and dreams of a young, Choctaw girl and her garden. The short film was supported and launched through the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge which aims to showcase stories that communicate how we can support one another to end poverty and hunger once and for all.

Stream the videos anytime from June 15 to July 17, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite videos, including Isabelle’s Garden. This week, ROKU users have an exclusive preview of the PBS Online Film Festival via the PBS ROKU app ( Beginning June 15, the Festival will be available via PBS digital platforms including PBS.orgYouTube, and PBS social media channels.

The PBS Online Film Festival showcases diverse films from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), POV, StoryCorps, and Vision Maker Media, as well as PBS local member stations including Alaska Public Media, CET/ThinkTV (Cincinnati/Dayton), KLRU (Austin, Texas), KQED (San Francisco, California), Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Twin Cities Public Television, UNC-TV (North Carolina), and Vermont PBS. Promotional partners for the PBS Online Film Festival include ITVS and World Channel.

The Festival showcases powerful and engaging stories from filmmakers across the country, while also providing an opportunity for producers to reach and engage a digitally-savvy audience. The Festival has become a popular, annual online event–attracting more than 350,000 streams and 50,000 votes cast for the winner last year.

Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite film to win the “People’s Choice” Award. For updates on the Festival, follow #PBSolff on Twitter.

“PBS prides itself as the home for independent film, whether on-air or online,” said Ira Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS Digital. “With the Online Film Festival, PBS and its member stations have the opportunity to bring unique, high-quality independent film to a highly engaged, digitally savvy audience.”

About the Filmmaker: Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa)
Jeffrey Palmer felt that this vignette, Isabelle’s Garden, about a Choctaw girl would not just shed light on conditions in the area, but also provide some insight; old traditions, it turns out, can help us create a better present and future.

The 1A Coastal Conference Basketball Tournament is one of the biggest events in the YK Delta. Students from the Lower Kuskokwim School Distrit capture that excitement as part of their career training.

Students from all over the YK Delta produced two videos about the 2015 Cama-i Dance Festival. The intensive course is aimed at training and preparing students for careers in media and information technologies.

The 2015 Cama-i Dance Festival theme was “A Festival for Hope and Healing”. LKSD eJournalism examine what that means for them.

Christian Parrish, A.K.A. SupaMan, performed in this year’s Cama-i Dance Festival. The Crow Nation hip-hop artist raps in positive words encouraging children and teens to be better people.

The Medicine Game

by Mike Martz on March 10, 2015

Lincoln, Neb:  Tucked away in central New York State is the Onondaga Nation, a sovereign Native American community known to produce some of the top lacrosse players in the world. Yet, the fear of leaving their community, substance abuse, and poverty have kept far too many of these players from venturing off the “Rez” and into collegiate or professional ranks.

Enter the Thompson brothers–Jerome “Hiana” and Jeremy–who are driven by a single goal of beating the odds against them and playing lacrosse for national powerhouse Syracuse University. During the brothers’ freshman and junior years of high school, they led their school’s lacrosse team to state championships. Based on this success, many people, including the film’s director/producer Lukas Korver, assumed they would compete for the state championship again.

“Lacrosse is more than just a game–it’s a way of life, it’s a heritage. It’s being Iroquois. It’s being Native American. It’s a part of their culture, their religion, who they are,” Korver said.

During the playoffs of their senior year, the undeniably close brothers had a shockingly out-of-character fight in the school parking lot, leaving Hiana hospitalized and unable to play lacrosse during his recovery from a broken jaw. Without Hiana on the field in the school’s next playoff game, Jeremy’s play suffered. The team lost, ending their chances at a third state championship. It would take two years before the brothers’ relationship healed to what it had been.

Hiana and Jeremy’s father, Jerome “Ji” Thompson commented, “They started school late and they’ve come from so far behind to catch up and do as well as they’re doing now. And, just to get that degree to show everybody, because I know there are people out there that actually know them that don’t think they can do it.”

“A lot of people say that it’s bad around here. But myself, I don’t know. I think it’s just like any other child growing up anywhere else,” said Jeremy.

With their now unfulfilled dream of winning a third state championship, the brothers heavily pursued their ongoing, shared vision of playing lacrosse for Syracuse University. Athletically, the brothers were standouts, but academically, they struggled. The obstacles in their way were frequent and daunting, but their love for the game, each other, and their family’s unyielding determination, helped propel these youth against the odds.

Ji, who doesn’t want his sons to be ironworkers like himself and generations before, explained, “The greatest gift you can give your children is your time. I taught my boys to respect the game–the game of lacrosse. Respect means to play as hard as you can, you know. Go out there and give it everything you can because you’re playing for the Creator.”

“I titled the film The Medicine Game because the game has helped not only the Thompsons, but many families and communities to stay healthy both physically and mentally, to bond with one another, and to learn many powerful life lessons,” said Korver.

To watch the film’s trailer, visit The Medicine Game is distributed by American Public Television (APT) and will be available to Public Television stations nationwide Tuesday, April 28, 2015. For broadcast information in your area, please visit

Lance Mackey was one of the feautred mushers in LKSD's eJournalism video projects. Image courtesy LKSD.

LKSD eJournalism screenshot.

Students from all over the YK Delta produced several videos about the 2015 Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race. KYUK provided a few pointers to the students at the start of their eJournalism intensive. The intensive course is aimed at training and preparing students for careers in media and information technologies.

Check out their projects below.

K300: Start to Finish

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