Social Studies

An Eastern Shoshone Elder and two Northern Arapaho youth living on the Wind River Indian Reservation attempt to learn why thousands of ancestral artifacts are in the darkness of underground archives of museums and churches, boxed away and forgotten. Like millions of indigenous people in many parts of the world, they do not control their own material culture. It is being preserved, locked away, by ‘outsiders’ who themselves do not know what they have.
What does it take for a contemporary Native family to thrive on their reservation? Badger Creek is a portrait of Native resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on the reservation in Montana. The loving and sober Momberg family members run a successful ranch, live a traditional worldview and are relearning their language.

On June 7, 1964, a driving rain buckled dams and flooded vehicles on the Blackfeet Reservation, sweeping crying children from mothers’ arms, and ferrying homes and bodies across the prairie.

In the Beginning was Water and Sky is a short-form New Media project that tells two parallel stories about a Chippewa boy who runs away from an Indian Boarding School in the 1950s and a Chippewa girl who runs away from her village in the 1700s.

Words from a Bear examines the enigmatic life and mind of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Navarro Scott Momaday, one of Native America’s most celebrated authors of poetry and prose.

This feature documentary, about the role of Native Americans in popular music history, tells the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence.

Ohero:kon - Under the Husk is a documentary that follows two Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) girls on their challenging journey to becoming women. They both take part in a four-year adolescent passage rites ceremony that has been revived in their community.

Lake of Betrayal looks at the Seneca Nation’s fight to protect its sovereignty against a backdrop of a federal Indian Termination policy, pork-barrel politics, and undisclosed plans for private hydro-power generation. The documentary takes a long view of the imposed changes on the Seneca’s way of life that have led to major economic benefits and irreplaceable cultural losses.

Ishi’s Return is a half-hour film about Ishi, billed in 1911 as the “last wild Indian,” when he wandered out of the woods in Oroville, California, and became a national sensation. When Ishi died, his brain was removed and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

In 2012, a film that Randy Vasquez directed and I produced, called The Thick Dark Fog, was broadcast nationwide on PBS. The film tells the story of Lakota elder Walter Littlemoon’s journey of healing from his American Indian boarding school experiences.

"Ohero:kon - Under the Husk" is a documentary that follows the challenging journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk Women. Kaienkwinehtha and Kasennakohe are childhood friends from traditional families living in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne that straddles the U.S./Canada border.

Two Native American judges reach back to traditional concepts of justice in order to reduce incarceration rates, foster greater safety for their communities, and create a more positive future for their youth. By addressing the root causes of crime, they are providing models of restorative justice that are working.

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Should tribes like the Shoshone and Arapaho attempt to bring back beautiful ancestral objects—drums, pipes, eagle wing fans, medicine bags, weapons, and ceremonial attire that ar