Lincoln, Neb.: All-star filmmaking duo–Comanche producer and director Julianna Brannum and executive producer Johnny Depp (TranscendencePirates of the CaribbeanThe Lone Ranger)–bring the story of politically influential Native American leader LaDonna Harris to Public Television stations nationwide with broadcasts beginningNovember 1.
LaDonna Harris reshaped Indian Country both in America and abroad. A Comanche from Oklahoma, she helped convince the Nixon administration to return sacred land to the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, founded the Americans for Indian Opportunity in 1970, and became a vice-presidential nominee in 1980.

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 is a reflection of her political achievements, personal struggles, and the events that led her to becoming a voice for Native people. Raised on a farm in Oklahoma during the Great Depression, LaDonna did not attend college. However, she studied and learned alongside her husband, Fred Harris, who would become a U.S. Senator. Upon his taking office, she too undertook a public service role.

LaDonna is best known for her work in U.S. civil rights when she set the tone with a landmark legislation initiative that returned land to the Taos Pueblo Tribe and Native tribes of Alaska. She also served a pivotal role in helping the Menominee Tribe regain their federal recognition.

Her trailblazing efforts began when President Lyndon B. Johnson selected her to educate both the executive and legislative branches of U.S. government on the unique relationship that American Indian tribes hold within our nation. This education course was affectionately called “Indian 101″ and was taught to members of Congress and other federal agencies for over 35 years.

La Donna Harris: Indian 101 is the first documentary about the Native activist and national civil rights leader, LaDonna Harris. Brannum commented, “LaDonna’s unique and bi-partisan approach to political and social issues made her a much-loved and well-respected icon in Washington. Not only was she a major force in Indian Country, but the media loved her and high-level politicians sought her input.”

Held in the highest regard by her colleagues for countless social and historical achievements, LaDonna is now passing her knowledge on to a new generation of emerging Indigenous leaders. With participation from students worldwide, LaDonna has created an educational program that trains Native professionals to incorporate their own tribes’ traditional values and perspectives into their work while building a global Indigenous coalition.

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101–which received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media–is an offering of PBS Plus. This one-hour documentary will be available to public television stations nationwide on Friday, October 31, 2014, with rights beginning November 1, 2014. This program is suggested for scheduling for Native American Heritage Month. For viewing information in your area, please visit

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,

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.

New From Vison Maker Media

by Mike Martz on September 4, 2014

Now Available on DVD:
Our Fires Still Burn
The Native American Experience

The stories shared in Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience are powerful, startling, despairing and inspiring. This exciting and compelling one-hour documentary DVD invites viewers into the lives of contemporary Native American role models living in the U.S. Midwest.

Watch the Trailer | Purchase the Educational Version
Buy the Home DVD

How Will You Observe
Columbus Day?

In light of the upcoming Columbus Day, we are puttingColumbus Day Legacy on sale from now until October 13. We hope this will allow more teachers to show this important film in their classes and more people to watch it with friends or family. We also provide a Viewer Discussion Guide to help teachers with their lesson plans and to provide a greater understanding of the topics covered in the film.

Watch the Trailer | Purchase the Educational Version
Buy the Home DVD | Viewer Discussion Guide

Now Available on DVD:
Navajo Film Themselves
(Home Edition)

Sol Worth, John Adair, and Richard Chalfen traveled to Pine Springs, Arizona, in the summer of 1966, where they taught a group of Navajo students to use cameras in the production of documentary films.

Watch the Trailer | Purchase the Educational Version
Buy the Home DVD

American Film Showcase Selects
The Medicine Game & Urban Rez

Congratulations to The Medicine Game and Urban Rez on being included in the America Film Showcase. The America Film Showcase is a major touring film program bringing American documentaries, feature films and animated shorts to audiences worldwide.

The Medicine Game: Two brothers from the Onondaga Nation pursue their dreams of playing lacrosse for Syracuse University. With the dream nearly in reach, the boys are caught in a constant struggle to define their Native identity, live-up to their family’s expectations and balance challenges on and off the reservation.

Buy the Home DVD

Purchase the Educational Version

Urban Rez explores the controversial legacy and modern-day repercussions of the Urban Relocation Program (1952-1973), the greatest voluntary upheaval of Native Americans during the 20th century.

Buy the Home DVD

Purchase the Educational Version

Educational Resources including Lesson Plans

Watch Online

Vision Maker Media Announces 2014-2015 Public Media Content Fund Awards 
Vision Maker Media is pleased to announce support for thirteen new projects for production, new media, and acquisition. Eleven producers and Public Television stations were selected for funding and two for acquisition for their documentaries by and about Native Americans and Alaska Natives.


Vision Maker Media Filmmakers Attend the National Native Media Conference
Native Filmmakers at the 2014 National Native Media Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., July 10-13, 2014. Pictured from left to right: Dan Golding (Quechan), Gary Robinson (Choctaw/Cherokee), Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux), Rebekka Schlichting (Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska), Princella Parker (Omaha), Georgiana Lee (Navajo), and Pierre Barrera (Klamath/Lakota)
Recently, a group of filmmakers who have just been awarded funds from Vision Maker Media came to Santa Clara, Calif., to attend and present workshops on film production, new media, contracts and more to share knowledge with one another and to help them as they work to produce documentaries for distribution through public television. The workshops took place both before and during the National Native Media Conference (NNMC), which Vision Maker Media co-hosted along with Native Public Media and the Native American Journalist Association.

We asked the people that attended to share their thoughts on the experience. Read their blogs.

See photos from the NNMC on Facebook or Pinterest.

Sovereign Bodies Blog 
by Nikke Alex (Navajo)
We, as Native Peoples, do not have forums to talk about sex, sexuality, healthy relationships and reproductive justice issues, because these topics are taboo in most Native communities.


Read More…


Video Profile of Amanda Takes War Bonnet
Part of a Series About Reproductive Rights
Amanda Takes War Bonnet (Lakota) is the former managing editor of Indian Country Today, an award-winning weekly national news source for Native Americans in the United States, where she worked for fourteen years. She currently serves as public education specialist for Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, a coalition of twenty-three organizations from seven states within the northern plains with the mission of ending domestic and sexual violence.

Visit the Site…


Indie Alaska’s I am an Aurora Hunter is part of the PBS Online Film Festival – one of many short films from around the country produced by public broadcasters and independent film producers such as Independent Lens. We want you to watch, vote, and share online. Voting ends on July 31st. Don’t miss these films guaranteed to amaze and inspire!
With funding from theCorporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community.

Since 1990, filmmakers have been invited to submit proposals in various stages of their film–from research & development, to production, post-production/completion, and outreach.

All proposals are reviewed by a group of public television professionals, station programmers, independent filmmakers, educators, and executives from indigenous organizations.

“The goal of the Public Media Content Fund is to increase the diversity of voices available to PBS viewers,” said
Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux), executive director of Vision Maker Media.

The final slate of documentaries represents Native voices and stories from across the United States including California, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Washington,

and a couple documentaries will span coast-to-coast.

Funding was awarded as 18.2% New Media; 81.8% production, post-production, and completion; and an additional two projects selected for acquisition. Production provides funding for producers to film, record, and produce their documentaries.

Post-production funding allows for completion of documentaries already-in-progress. New Media provides for programs with primary distribution over the Internet such as vignettes and webisodes, as well as creation of community engagement materials. Acquisitions are provocative and engaging completed programs from independent or Public Television producers acquired by Vision Maker Media for broadcast.

In alphabetical order, the funded projects are:


Boarding School StoriesJonathon Skurnik

New Media

Board School Stories is an interactive new media website built around videotaped oral histories that will educate users about the history of the American Indian boarding school system–a policy of forced assimilation imposed on more than 100,000 Native American children between 1879 and 1975.


Injunuity 2Adrian Baker (Hopi)


Injunuity 2 is a half-hour documentary made-up of nine short films using a mix of animation, music, and real Native voices. Together, the pieces create a thought-provoking collage of reflections on modern America from a contemporary Native perspective. (

Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua DamPaul Lamont, Scott Sackett


When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attempts to take their land to build Kinzua Dam, the Seneca people stand up to the government and prevailing political forces of the 1950s and 60s to save their culture, their sovereignty, and their way of life to preserve their future.


MankillerValerie Red-Horse (Cherokee), Gale Anne Hurd


Mankiller explores the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation who led her people in building one of the strongest Indian Tribes in America. More than a biography, the program delivers an empowering message.


Metal RoadSarah Del Seronde (Navajo), Leighton C. Peterson


For decades, thousands of Navajos worked the railroads, maintaining the trans-continental network. Metal Road explores the dynamics of livelihood, family, and the railroads through the lens of a Navajo trackman.


Navajo Math CirclesGeorge Csicsery


Navajo Math Circles documents the meeting of two worlds where some of the country’s most accomplished mathematicians and math educators work with children and teachers in the underserved, largely rural Navajo educational system.


Neon BuffaloPierre Barrera (Klamath/Lakota), Jeff Franken,
Daniel Montano


Neon Buffalo is a documentary film exploring the history of Indian gaming from the first bingo halls to today’s destination resorts. The film delves deeper into Indian Gaming than slot machines and black jack tables. (


Our Fires Still BurnAudrey Geyer


Our Fires Still Burn suggests how Native Americans can address the serious economic and social issues that affect them while respecting and understanding their heritage and what was done to them by European settlers and the United States government. The stories shared are fresh, uplifting, powerful, startling, despairing, and inspiring. (


Red Power EnergyLarry Pourier (Oglala Lakota), Lisa D. Olken,
Rocky Mountain PBS


Red Power Energy is the first-ever, trans-media film project (TV, radio, web-exclusive videos, print articles, photos, and timelines) that explores the promises and perils of fossil fuel and renewable energy production on 14 American Indian reservations in a five state region–Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Medicine Woman

Princella Parker (Omaha), Christine Lesiak, NET Television


Medicine Woman is about healing and identity in the lives of Native women past and present. It weaves together the stories of the first Native American doctor, a woman born seven generations ago, and present-day Native healers.


The Blackfeet FloodBrooke Pepion Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish), Ben Shors

New Media

The media ignored the 29 victims of the worst natural disaster in Montana history, the 1964 flood on the Blackfeet Reservation.The Blackfeet Flood gives voice to the survivors to tell their stories through a mobile app and website that present a series of place-based short films, text, historic documents, and images. (


Tribal JusticeAnne Makepeace, Ruth B. Cowan


Tribal Justice is a one-hour documentary about the innovative work of two tribal judges, both remarkable women leaders who are using traditional forms of restorative justice to help heal their communities. (


Watchers of the NorthDavid Finch, Maureen Marovitch


Watchers of the North is an action-packed, six-part documentary adventure series following the training, patrols, and search & rescue missions of Canadian Rangers in two Nunavut communities. (


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, visit

 Join us in 7 days for the third annual PBS Online Film Festival. This year’s festival features 25 short films from various station and producing partners. Stream the videos anytime from June 16 to July 31, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite videos.

The PBS Online Film Festival showcases diverse films fromIndependent Lens and POV, as well as collaborations with public television producers, including theCenter for Asian American Media,Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB),National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC)Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), and Vision Maker Media.

The festival highlights powerful stories from filmmakers across the country, while also providing an opportunity for producers to reach and engage a digitally-savvy audience. In its first two years, the festival garnered more than one million video streams and more than 50,000 votes.

This year’s selection features several locally produced short films from a variety of local PBS stations, including: Alaska Public MediaArkansas Educational Television Network (AETN)CET/ThinkTV (Cincinnati/Dayton),KLRU (Austin, TX)KQED (San Francisco)Louisiana Public Broadcasting,Vermont PBSWisconsin Media Lab and WCVE (Richmond, VA).

“PBS and member stations are committed to experimenting with new platforms to reach diverse audiences with high-quality and engaging content,” said Ira Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS Digital. “PBS is the home for independent film, both online and on-air, and we’re proud that the Online Film Festival has become an annual celebration of unique films representing a diverse array of voices and viewpoints.”

The films will be available for streaming across all digital platforms, including, AppleTV, Roku, YouTube and PBS social media channels. 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.

Cama-i 2014 Highlights

by KYUK Staff on April 7, 2014

Vision Maker Media Internship
Deadline – April 1, 2014 – Apply Now
Vision Maker Media is pleased to offer Public Media Internshipsto undergraduate or graduate students. The application deadline is April 1, 2014. With major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the purpose of the paid internships is to increase the opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native youth in Public Broadcasting.


Apply Now…


Public Television stations, let us know if you would be interested in hosting a Vision Maker Media Multimedia Intern.


Native Media Summit in Oklahoma
April 3-4, 2014 – Register Now
The fourth annual New Media in Indian Country Summit will bring together speakers and media makers from Oklahoma Tribes.

Whether you’re a newbie, geek, or manager, there will be something for everyone.


Register Now…


2014 National Native Media Conference
July 10-13, 2014
Join more than 300 Native journalists, media professionals and tribal community representatives from across the country at the 30th annual event commemorating three decades of enhancing Native journalism July 10-13, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.

Members of the Native American Journalists Association save $50 on conference registration.


More Information…

New Title: Injunuity

Injunuity is a mix of animation, music, and real thoughts from real people exploring our world from the Native American perspective. Every word spoken is verbatim, every thought and opinion is real, told in nine short pieces and covering such topics as language preservation, sacred sites, and the environment. But rather than simply revisit our history, the goal of Injunuity is to help define our future, to try and figure out the path that lies before us, to focus on where we are going as well as where we have been.

Watch Trailer | Home DVD | Edu DVD | Download from iTunes

This Day in History

On March 4, 1928, Andy Payne (Cherokee), starts a 3,422-mile foot race designed to bring attention to the newly constructed Route 66 Highway. Watch the film online to see if he wins or not or buy the film as a great gift or for use in the classroom to teach about 1920s.

Watch Trailer | Home DVD | Educational DVD | Watch Online

Happy Birthday Dennis Banks

On April 12, Dennis Banks, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, will turn 77. Use his birthday as an opportunity to teach about the American Indian Movement and other civil rights movements of the 1970s by showing the documentary about his life, A Good Day to Die.

Watch Trailer | Educational DVD

Want to Set Up A Screening in Your Area? Titles Are Now Available for Rental
A crowd of about 175 people watched INDIAN RELAY in Billings' Babcock Theatre. Credit:  Marganna King
By popular demand, we are now allowing institutions or tribes that want to screen our films to rent them for public screenings.Take a look at the 40+ titles we have to offer and see if there is one that would be wonderful to show in your community.

WASHINGTON — February ­24, 2014 — The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) has presented its Champion of Public Broadcasting Award to Congressman Don Young (R-AK).

The Champion of Public Broadcasting Award is given to Members of Congress and other individuals who safeguard the ability of local public television stations to provide educational, public safety and civic engagement services to their communities.

“Congressman Young has been a strong supporter of public broadcasting for many years,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of APTS, “and he recognizes the essential nature of our educational, public safety and civic engagement services to the people of the Last Frontier. We are particularly grateful that Congressman Young has agreed to serve as co-chair of the Congressional Public Broadcasting Caucus with Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon – a very important step in building the bipartisan support for public broadcasting we seek in Congress. Thanks to Don Young and many others who have signaled their support, we believe we have made significant progress in the 113th Congress. For all of these reasons, we are honored to present Congressman Young with the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award.”

“It is a great honor to accept the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award from the Association of Public Television Stations,” said Congressman Young. “My support for these essential services is simple. In a state as vast as Alaska, where nearly 75 percent of our communities are off the road system and served by stations critically dependent on federal funding, public broadcasting plays an essential role in the lives of many of our residents. For many of these small communities, commercial broadcasting is out of the picture and public broadcasting is often times the only viable option for sharing and relaying information. From up to date local and national news to life-saving weather reports, these are services my constituents and rural Americans across the country depend on each and every day. Even during these times of very serious budget concerns, I remain committed to those who rely on public broadcasting.”

Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 to serve his 21st term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressman Young is today the 1st ranking Republican member and the 4th ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.

In the 112th Congress, Congressman Young was chosen to serve as the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Alaska Native and Indian Affairs. He currently serves as a senior Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and House Natural Resources Committee.

Congressman Young calls Fort Yukon, Alaska home; a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. Born on June 9, 1933 in Meridian, California, he earned his associate degree at Yuba Junior College in 1952, and his bachelor’s degree in teaching at Chico State College in 1958. Between earning these degrees, he served in the US Army’s 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957.

Congressman Young first entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. Two years later, Alaskan voters elected him to the State Legislature in Juneau where he served in the State House from 1966 to 1970, and later in the State Senate from 1970 to 1973. Just hours after being sworn in to United States House of Representatives in 1973, he found himself leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Often citing this as the single most important achievement in his career, Congressman Young stated, “Next to statehood itself, the most historical legislation passed that affected every Alaskan then, now, and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”

The Champion of Public Broadcasting Award was presented to Congressman Young during The APTS Public Media Summit on Monday, February 24.

About APTS

The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research, communications and other activities that foster a strong and financially sound public television system providing essential public services to all Americans. Its affiliate APTS Action, Inc. promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy and through grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner bipartisan congressional support. For more information, visit