August 10, 2006

Teens tell their tales

From, 8/8/06:

Tribal teens use film to tell the stories of who they areFor many American Indians, attention from the world outside the reservation boundaries can be fearsome. Mainstream video cameras capture poverty, suicide or corruption.

When Indians turn their own cameras on themselves, the picture is very different.

The 20 films submitted to the Tulalip Film Festival, which ended Friday, refused to gloss over the challenges on reservations, but they didn't abandon their characters there.

In one film, young Indians escape to Montana's backcountry for a leadership camp. In another, women discuss how they look and feel different than non-Indians.

Puppets share the tribal legend of "Deer and Changer" in both English and Lushootseed, the traditional language of the Tulalip Tribes.

A boy's father turns to alcohol to cope with the death of a friend.

One by one, stereotypes of tribal culture are challenged.

"By charging the youth with the skills necessary to tell their own stories and to put those images out in the media in our own way, the broader public will see native persons the way we see ourselves, with all the cultural complexities," American Indian filmmaker Tracy Rector said.

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