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  • Writer's pictureKatherine (K’iya) Wilson

Update on the Native Youth Film Training Project

Updated: Mar 13, 2023


The University of Oregon Longhouse has been a beehive of activity in support of our gifted Native students, including Indigenous archeologists presenting their findings about local lands. Their findings support and reflect oral histories, as well as petroglyphs supporting local mythologies. This is inspiring to our students, who are currently exploring the wealth of their own cultures to develop story ideas for their documentary, which they plan to research when they return home for Spring and Summer Break.


Dr. Kevin Hatfield, the Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Research and Distinguished Scholarships and Director of Academic Residential and Research Initiatives has encouraged our student cohort to enter the first segment of this documentary into the University of Oregon's Undergraduate Research Symposium in April. They will have access to rare footage from 1968 from my Special Collection at the Knight Library.


Participating students are passionate about their documentary project. They will learn the basics of filming during the University of Oregon's 55th Annual Mother's Day Powwow in May. The UO Native American Student Union is invited to submit footage for the project, which will then be used, along with Elderberry Wisdom Farm footage, to teach editing this summer.


To kickstart their film project, one of the four UO students and her family will be attending the Ross Ragland Theater Film Festival later this month in Klamath Falls, Oregon, which will feature the 150th Anniversary of the Modoc War.


Another student plans to learn one of the Seven Drum Ceremony songs from her Umatilla Tribe. The song is about New Beginnings. The student will reach out to her own tribe to learn more about these powerful songs that came from the Big Dipper. I was given a blessing to teach this song by a Umatilla Tribal authority and Dr. Virginia Beavert, who received her 2nd PhD at the University of Oregon at the age of 90. We performed it together for the first time at the Circle Pit of the Longhouse, prior to the Native Storytelling Event. We received accolades from Dr. Kirby Brown, who has requested we teach the song to the whole Native student body.


A third Honors College student reached out for help to find a Klamath historian who is related to Winema and Captain Jack, and in return is wanting to interview me for her Honor's Thesis on Native American Women Filmmakers.


The First Annual Doc Film Camp will be held in mid-July with U of O's School of Journalism's Jon Anderson Chair of Documentary Production, Professor Mitchell Block, co-presenter Rebecca Cammisa, and myself as Indigenous Multimedia Mentor. Award-winning Public Broadcasting Editor Robert Laird has offered to help me teach Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere to the students in early summer before the Doc Camp.


A recent Salem Reporter article featured the Native Youth Film Training Project which has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Marion Cultural Development Corporation. See article at: https://www.salemreporter.com/2023/01/25/salem-nonprofit-gets-grant-to-teach-documentary-work-to-native-americans/

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