March 21, 2010

From health care to Heavy Metal Indians

Videographer:  A portrait of Nathan Young IV

By Honey Dawn Karima PettigrewYoung is eager to present Native people as they are in modernity, and finds that the documentary form allows him to do that, using time-based media.

“I’m producing a concert/document hybrid of a performance of the Culture Shock crew. Right now I’m finishing a documentary for the National Indian Women’s Health Resource Center. It’s called ‘Creating Space: Culture and History in Indian Health Care.’ It’s a case study of the practices and policies of six tribally run health care authorities, their processes in making sure that their health care providers are culturally sensitive. I’m just about to lock picture on it.”

As Young finishes work on these two documentaries, he is delighted by an opportunity to collaborate on a film with Sterlin Harjo, a Creek filmmaker noted for his disturbing depiction of Indian Health Services, in “Good Night, Irene.”

“I’m collaborating with a really talented writer/director named Sterlin Harjo on a true story about a guy who I grew up with that was murdered. The working title is ‘Heavy Metal Indians.’ I’m also working on a short film with a really great director of photography called Kitstahutux. A kitstahutux is the pawnee word for boogy man. Originally, a kitstahutux was a scalped person, that’s actually what the word means, but now the word means someone or something scary.

“One thing though, I think I need to say that both of these stories have a lot of dark subject matter at their core. Drugs, alcohol, violence play prominent roles in these stories. I don’t know that’s something that I’m kind of grappling with. ... but honestly, most Indian realities are dark, Indian country is full of racism, pessimism, violence, drugs and all of the other societal ills.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News and The Best Indian Movies.

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