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  • Writer's pictureKatherine (K’iya) Wilson

Native American Film Students Start Documentary

Elderberry Wisdom's Film Training has kicked into high gear as we navigate a very short month due to the University of Oregon Winter Term's Scholastic Finals and Spring break week at the U of O.

Taking advantage of this down time with the students in Finals-- we have worked on film equipment needs. Only one NASU student had access to the UO J School Equipment. That will change however, over the Summer, when the Intensive Two-Week Documentary Camp convenes- where our 4 students will technically be in the J-school program we will be mentoring, thanks to the invitation from UO Professors Mitchell Block and Rebecca Cammisa. Because of the need for stationary high-resolution master shots for the students to edit their cell phone footage into, we purchased a Panasonic Film Camera and we are now ready for capturing their exciting events that begin the first week of Spring Term starting this coming Week.

The students have asked me to help create the historically relevant opening segment of the film- and the whole UO community has stepped up to offer significant resources for this project. Amazing historical images, film footage and music licensing have been offered to the project; and research in the historical newspaper archives has revealed the true unknown beginnings of the University of Oregon's Native American Student Union- that the NASU Multicultural counselor, the Longhouse Steward and the students were not aware of and are amazed by. This segment will be submitted to the U of O Undergraduate Research Symposium by April 17th, so we are making great headway.

The weekend before that deadline will be spent in the Klamath/ Modoc Lava Beds of Southern Oregon/ Northern California filming the 150th Commemoration of the Modoc War, that one of our students, who is related to Captain Jack and Winema- wants to film while learning more about her Native Culture through interviewing her Elders there.

Thanks to their Elders, we recently discovered amazing details of both the UO NASU beginnings and its "Traditional Welcoming Song"-- really important details that no one ever knew, and our excitement over this is amazing!

In the meantime, all images and footage for the opening segment of the documentary have been obtained, and we have begun to lay them into an iMovie Timeline Editing Program.

Here is a photo of us at the Longhouse in March, where the students invited me to participate in a "War Hoop" Contest, where I won 3rd prize. I in turn gave the necklace to one of my other students, for winning the Intramural Hoop contest that same week at the U of O at Mac Court.


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