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Native communities utilize interactive learning tools from Standing Bear documentary

A comprehensive interactive learning campaign has officially launched in Native communities and classrooms across the U.S. in anticipation of the Public Television broadcast of the documentary “Standing Bear’s Footsteps.”

“The film’s educational resources have an American Graduate focus because they begin with outreach rooted in the community. When you combine hands-on experience with the extensive teacher’s guides and the rich archival materials being offered, you have a way of learning history that is powerfully interactive,” said the film’s Producer Christine Lesiak of NET Television.

NET Television is leading efforts on the development of an interactive website that will house digital learning objects for PBS Learning Media. Funded through a $50,000 grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota, the site will host media responses to the documentary from youth around the country, as well as a Social Studies curriculum–written by educators Cindy Renner and Larry Wright, Jr. (Northern Ponca). In addition, a Youth Media Skills curriculum is also available that focuses on the “Meaning of Home”–a theme central to the Standing Bear story.

“We are proud to be a part of this project which honors this important, historic Tribal leader. Standing Bear is remembered for his actions and words which were instrumental in showing the humanity of American Indians in a time period when we were generally not recognized that way,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Community Chairman Stanley R. Crooks. “Our grant will help schoolchildren and others understand his legacy.”

Curriculum development and web distribution of the materials have been made possible by a $7,000 grant from the Nebraska Humanities Council. “The website and curriculum project is an excellent resource for teachers. It will provide teachers of American Indian students a way to connect to their culture no matter what their Tribal affiliation is and teachers of non-Native students a way to better understand American Indian history,” commented Carol Rempp (Oglala Lakota), Program Coordinator for the state of Nebraska’s Multicultural and Native American Education Program.

Youth Media Workshops are being held with Tribal youth in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Minnesota. With $25,000 in grant funds from the National Black Programming Consortium’s (NBPC) Public Media Corps, NAPT is funding and equipping the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska for eight-week training of youth ages eight to 14 in media skills. Students will create digital media stories in response to the film and answer the question, “What is the Meaning of Home?”

Today, many American Indian and Alaska Natives live away from their homelands for various reasons such as employment or school. Historically, the forced relocations beginning in 1830 to the Urban Indian Relocation Programs of the 1950s and ’60s have shown that Tribes are an example of resiliency in making the best of a bad situation. NAPT Executive Director NAPT Executive Shirley K. Sneve (Sicangu Lakota) commented, “Through expressive research on the ‘Meaning of Home,’ we hope to help Native youth in their education and career decisions of whether to leave the Reservation in search of opportunities elsewhere. We want them to know that you can maintain the connection to your culture.”

Training for the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma is being led by Tom Fields (Cherokee/Creek), while training for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is being led by the film’s Associate Producer, Princella Parker (Omaha). Parker added, “I’m thrilled to mentor and work with these Tribal youth. I’m excited to share my passion for video and storytelling with them and I hope they gain career skills while having fun–not to mention being able to build their individual student portfolios.”

These initiatives have been conducted under the guidance of a steering committee that includes Christine Lesiak, an NET Television Producer; Judi gaiashkaibos (Northern Ponca), Executive Director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs; Joe Starita, Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications and author of “I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice;” Carol Rempp (Oglala Lakota), Program Coordinator for the state of Nebraska’s Multicultural and Native American Education Program; Larry Wright, Jr. (Northern Ponca), Educator; Princella Parker (Omaha), an NET Television Associate Producer; Melanie Eirich, Executive Web Producer for NET Television; and NAPT’s Shirley K. Sneve (Sicangu Lakota), Georgiana Lee (Navajo) and Brendan McCauley.

For more information, visit netnebraska.org/standingbear. Materials will be available online for all communities to use by the national broadcast on Monday, October 15, 2012.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) utilizes its financial resources from gaming and non-gaming enterprises to pay for the internal infrastructure of the Tribe, including but not limited to roads, water and sewer systems, emergency services, and essential services to its members in education, health, and well-being. A Tribal charitable giving program which comes from a cultural and social tradition to assist those in need has given away more than $243.5 million to Indian Tribes, charitable organizations, and schools since 1996.

The Public Media Corps (PMC) is a national service program that promotes and extends broadband adoption in underserved communities. It does so by placing technology, media production, and outreach fellows in residencies at underperforming high schools, public broadcast stations, and nonprofit community organizations. The PMC evolved out of the New Media Institute, which was founded by the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) in 2006 to train media makers of color in new media technology. For more information, visit NBPC’s website at blackpublicmedia.org.

The Nebraska Humanities Council (NHC) enhances the quality of life in communities across the state through programs that study the human race, its achievements, its creations, its dreams and aspirations, its failures and triumphs. The NHC promotes a better understanding of Nebraska-who we are and where we have been-to build a better future. For more information, visit nebraskahumanities.org.

NET Television is part of Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET), which also includes NET Radio, NET Learning Services and NET Technology Services. To learn more about NET, visit netNebraska.org.

Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc. (NAPT), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, shares Native stories with the world through support of the creation, promotion and distribution of Native media. Founded in 1977, through various media-Public Television, Public Radio and the Internet–NAPT brings awareness of Indian and Alaska Native issues. NAPT operates VisionMaker, the premier source for quality Native American educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media–to be the next generation of storytellers. NAPT is located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. NAPT offers student employment, internships and fellowships. Reaching the general public and the global market is the ultimate goal for the dissemination of Native-produced media. For more information, visit nativetelecom.org.

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