Saturday, June 29, 2019


I can't tell you how satisfying it is to read this story!  Several teachers on the Blackfeet rez over the years have tried to stir up interest and skills in videography, or even just writing, but with limited success.  Maybe several things had just not reached critical mass yet: simplicity of equipment, an audience, sophistication among the kids because of the Internet, political push.  Maybe a truly gifted and dedicated teacher, Amy Andreas, or visiting teacher Tahji Kjelland.   Whatever, it's just great!

This is the movie to watch.  About ten minutes long.

This is reprinted in part from the Glacier Reporter:

Students from MAPS Media Institute won three High School Student Production Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter with “Browning Rising Voices” and “Art for Survival” tied in the Short Form Non-Fiction category and “Aisitsimsta/Imagination” taking top honors for Short Form Fiction. The awards were presented during the Northwest Regional Emmy® Awards Gala held June 8 at the Fremont Studios in Seattle.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. NATAS membership consists of over 15,000 broadcast and media professionals represented in 19 regional chapters across the country.

“Our message was to inspire not only ourselves about thinking about our futures but for other students to never stop dreaming,” said director Mecca Bullchild. “In working with MAPS, I learned about all of the different roles in filmmaking – like director, actor, and scriptwriter. My favorite part was learning about the cameras, because I like photography and realized how important they are to making movies, like having the right angles and lighting.”

“Browning Rising Voices” tells the story of an extraordinary poetry program at Browning High School on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Students write and perform original spoken-word literary pieces. In this mini-documentary, students filmed their writing process and performances, and directed “vignettes” to accompany their poetry. The film artfully demonstrates the strength and importance of their stories. As student Hailie Hendersen wrote for the film, “The Seventh Generation is here, and coming on strong.”

“All of MAPS projects, especially these films awarded by NATAS NW, are a lens into the hearts and minds of the next generation. They have powerful stories to share and MAPS is dedicated to helping Montana’s students build the skills to bring them to life,” said Harff.

For more information, please visit or MAPS Media Institute’s YouTube channel to view the award-winning films.  Link above.

“Student work continues to impress the judges and the level of competitiveness significantly increases each year,” said Clare Ann Harff, MAPS executive director. “To have MAPS students win three awards is a tremendous honor and a testament to the next generation of Montana’s filmmakers. MAPS is proud to mentor these dynamic young art- ists and provide the creative opportunities and professional experiences to help bring their stories to life.”

MAPS, a free-of-charge media arts program based out of Hamilton in the Bitterroot Valley, has been serving students in grades 8-12 since 2004. Classes include filmmaking, graphic design, music production, new technologies and social entrepreneurship. In 2017, MAPS was one of the top 12 arts creative youth development programs in the U.S. to be honored with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. In recent years, MAPS has broadened its geographical scope to teach in other rural communities across Montana, including Browning, Harlem, Poplar, Helena, East Helena, Ronan and St. Ignatius.

The High School Student Production Award competition received a record number of entries this year from high schools across the chapter’s five-state region of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington. Industry professionals judged and critiqued the entries, which showcased a wide range of talent from these future broadcasters and media producers.

Winning students film “Aisitsimsta/Imagination.”  Link below:

If you had opened any of my grade books from the Sixties, the names would be the same.  These youngsters were there in potential, just waiting to be set free.  The Blackfeet culture was oral and stories depended on songs.  Video is the powerful medium for the young people.

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