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  • By K'iya Wilson

Native Film Students Win Scholarships

In August our Native Film Training Students went all-out filming interviews for their documentaries, 26 interviews in all. We also attended and filmed at the Klamath Restoration Pow-wow in Chiloquin and were welcomed at the Running Y Ranch outside of Klamath Falls where they worked within our budget and treated us very well. There, we were able to look at the stars, swim in the pool and shop at their store for items we ran out of. We stayed up to the wee hours and brainstormed about soundtrack and storylines. For the first night there, we were joined by Elder Deb Riddle (Winema’s Granddaughter) at Wong’s. For their last night there, the students were hosted by an old friend of K’iya’s in the Film Industry who owns Rooster’s Steak and Chop House. The Chef kept bringing incredible hors d'oeuvres out for us to try, so many we were full before dinner. It was good to treat our Native Students to the best life has to offer, because they deserve it. We also held our Production “Wrap Party'' there because they have worked so hard to find and tell the untold stories about their cultures and now have their film shots “in the can.” Currently they are working with K’iya to edit them into film shorts before the University of Oregon reconvenes Fall Term.


Film students relax at dinner.
Film students relax at dinner.

We also celebrated our Jordon graduating from the U of O this summer with a Bachelor of Arts in General Social Science of Business and Economics. He is a member of the Klamath Tribes and a descendent of the Klamath and Modoc people. He wants to work toward sustainable economic development in lower income areas. He just received the Mark Hatfield Fellowship https://www.thecommunityfund.com/other-programs/hatfield-fellowship/ to work with Senator Ron Wyden beginning the end of this month, in Washington DC. We are so grateful to him for directing our first film: “The Lost Story of the Mother’s Day Pow-wow” which not only has been selected by the Klamath Independent Film Festival; but was entered into the University of Oregon’s Center for Undergraduate Research Symposium (CURE)- and then chosen for the University Archives by the Knight Library Special Collections. This film was instrumental in getting another of our Native Film Training Students, Kimokailiani (Japanese, Hawaiian and Klamath Tribal Affiliation) a $6000 scholarship for Summer living expenses from CURE- based on his participation in the former film, and is now creating his own on the “Evolution of Native Music.” Princess, (Western Shoshone/ Klamath) is currently finishing up on her last finals this coming week for her Degree in Political Science. She wants to be a lawyer. Her film is on “Language as Creator of Culture” and has the most interviews. Our fourth student, Anais (Cherokee/Powhatan) interviewed her Great-grandfather about his friend Lefty Wild Eagle who single-handedly kept the Klamath Tribes’ Native Culture alive during the Termination by creating a Cultural Museum at his Gas station at the Chiloquin Junction to Ft. Klamath in the 1950’s.


We are very proud of our students, and very grateful to the U of O Native Studies Professors, Professor Mitchell Block, the many Film Professionals who volunteered their time to mentor the students, and especially the Longhouse for supporting our program this last year; but without Elderberry Wisdom Farms, and the grants from OCT, NEA and others, none of this would have been possible.


From left to right: Kimo, Filmmaker Loren Sears (who has a Special Collection at Stanford University) and Princess.
From left to right: Kimo, Filmmaker Loren Sears (who has a Special Collection at Stanford University) and Princess.

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