November 09, 2013

Lots of Lakota documentaries

A rant I posted on Facebook three months ago:

Hey, documentarians: How about visiting a rez besides Pine Ridge and reporting on the beauty, culture, dances, kids, and basketball there?

Right now the tally seems to be roughly Pine Ridge 7, Navajo 3, other 564 tribes zero.

Let the discussion begin

This led to a discussion with my Facebook friends:Although I agree, more coverage of the healthy aspects of the people is important, I don't feel we've seen enough of the continuing negative impact of this society on the natives.I'm all for looking at mainstream society's impact on Native nations. My point is that there are many, many ways to do that besides the obligatory visit to Pine Ridge.Yeah!!I think I'm watching the third PBS special in a row whose theme is, "Native Americans have a rich culture and history, but we know little about them. To remedy this, we decided to visit Pine Ridge...."

It's the 2013 version of the century-old stereotype that Indians are all about chiefs, warriors, tipis, and buffalo. Uh, no.

Heck, put the names of the 566 tribes in a hat and pick one at random. Anything but the umpteenth article/video/Johnny Depp drive-by.

What's up with Lakota docs?

If you didn't know anything about Indians until you visited Pine Ridge, and now you're all about helping the Lakota, I have to wonder about your motives. You're ignoring about 98% of the story by focusing your attention in one place.Anyone who wants to film a documentary on Indians really ought to come to AZ. We have "urban" reservations (three, at least, right by Phoenix), and last week I was up north in the White Mountain Apache reservation, which is in a beautiful forested area. Of course, we have the Navajo completely surrounding the Hopi reservation, which I always thought was odd. Plus, of course, there are several Indians who go to Norah's school who don't live on reservations. It's a smorgasbord!Right, although I think the Navajo Nation is also overrepresented. But if you want a lot of tribes in one region, try Oklahoma, Arizona, or New Mexico. Or Southern California.If someone wants to see modern Native Americans, the story can be found in one or all of the 39 Nations/tribes in Oklahoma. As I always say, the best kept Native secrets are in Oklahoma.For more on the subject, see Bridge the Gap and Born to Explore and Pine Ridge Gets Media Attention.

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