The Lakota Media Project Initiative
No more of the outside looking in- We're from the inside and we're speaking out!
Prairie Dust Films mentors youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation,
educating them on documentary media making.
Prairie Dust Films’ producers began facilitating media making workshops on Pine Ridge in 2003 during production of their award-winning documentary, Standing Silent Nation (about a Lakota family’s battle for sovereignty, economic and environmental sustainability through the growing of industrial hemp). We allied with Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way, a non-profit) to provide guidance, support and technical assistance for youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Lakota Media Project (LMP) began in 2004 as a response to this need to document issues effecting Lakota people. Although it was created during the production of Standing Silent Nation, upon completion of the documentary in 2007, the importance of continuing LMP was evidenced in their powerful work.
Owe Aku and Prairie Dust Films facilitate from a model whereby LMP participants develop their own projects to complement Owe Aku’s social justice and activism work. By establishing a curriculum that supports our work in poverty, peace, activism, and freedom from oppression, the facilitators develop tailor made curriculum for the LMP.
The LMP is comprised of 15-20 young Lakota, aged 4 through 25, who attend training workshops overseen by Prairie Dust Films. For a period of two days to one week per session and four to six sessions per year, the young filmmakers learn the ins and outs of making a documentary. Training includes story and script development, creating a voice, camera operation, interview questions and techniques, documentation techniques for activist events, and hands-on editing workshops. PDF mentors experience the realities of working in the documentary form in every aspect from development to completion. Aside from the documentary work, the LMP has hosted the Chiapas Media Project on Pine Ridge.
The Lakota Media Project Trailer -- check it out!
The Lakota Media Project of Owe Aku provides a learning experience for the participants that exceeds the media work. They learn and become engaged in the work of Owe Aku. The participants serve as role models for their peers, and become important players in reaching their objectives. The work gives them something positive to do, and they see the results of their commitment!
The work of the LMP on the different issues benefits the Tribal Nations’ population, and beyond, through the distribution of educational materials about Native issues from a Native perspective with a Native voice.
The Lakota Media Project gives the Lakota the final say.
The natural collaboration between PDF and Owe Aku ensures the success of the Lakota Media Project initiative.
We believe in the ideas of collective action: it is through people working together that social change is made. Owe Aku provides activism training and PDF provides film guidance and distribution tactics. A board of directors of Native Americans, activists, film and non-profit professionals grows, ensuring the future success of LMP as it matures.
Current Projects: Profile pieces from Pine Ridge for the series What's Your Calling?, a documentary outreach for the PBS documentary, The Calling; Documentary on Sacred Site Protection: Mato Paha (estimated 63 minutes); Buffer Zone Now! (Lakota youth perspective on Mato Paha, 15 minutes); Documentary on Contaminated Water and Uranium Mining on the Pine Ridge: Crying Earth Rise Up! (estimated 67 minutes)
The LMP suffered a major tragedy on December 21, 2007, when a fire at the White Plume’s home destroyed everything (all work, clothes, pictures, paintings, beadwork, furniture--EVERYTHING), including, all the tapes, archives, and technical equipment of the LMP. However, the stories still exist in the minds of the participants and the activism continues and funds are being raised to replace lost equipment.
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