The hour-length documentary Finding Refuge follows two intertwined narratives. The first narrative is the story of a woman in the midst of a fight with cancer who yearns to set foot on Refuge Rock to reconnect to her Alutiiq heritage. Refuge Rock is a tiny island where Russian fur traders massacred hundreds of Alutiiq people in 1784, setting off a period of brutal cultural destruction that left generations of Alutiiq feeling shameful and pained. The second narrative tells a broader effort of the Alutiiq people today and how they are preserving and finding pride in their culture.
Francis and Kjellstrand applied to the Public Media Content Fund in 2012 and were awarded funding for Finding Refuge. Panelists who reviewed the proposal described it as “compelling” and “committed to highlighting the culture.”
Since receiving the award, the Finding Refuge team has completed two shooting trips to Old Harbour and Kodiak. They now have several clips edited for funding proposals and are in the process of creating an official website that will feature a new trailer of the film.
Swil Kanim (Lummi) is an award-winning violinist and inspirational speaker. He travels throughout the United States, inspiring audiences through his music and personal stories. His compositions incorporate classical influences and reflect his journey from depression and despair to spiritual and emotional freedom.
Swil Kanim is also the president of Honor Works, a nonprofit organization who mission is "to create and ignite the potential for Honor among all people."
In February 2013, Swil Kanim talked to Landon Mattison about music, culture, inspiration and the foster care system.
Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre is synonymous with Native film. His work includes feature films like Skins and Smoke Signals. He recently directed the film Hide Away featuring Josh Lucas and James Cromwell. He also has an extensive background in television production with films like Edge of America or Skinwalkers, and series like We Shall Remain. Today, Chris shares his experience with his students as the Chair of The Film School at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Chris also serves as the host of the upcoming Vision Maker Media production, Growing Native. Growing Native follows Chris on his journeys through Indian Country, highlighting inspiring stories of cultural and physical sustainability. Associate Producer Blue Tarpalechee sat down with Chris after they had just wrapped filming for an upcoming Growing Native episode in Alaska.
Jack Gladstone is from the Blackfeet Indian Nation of Montana and a "storysmith." Regarded as a cultural bridge builder, he delivers programs across the nation, on American Indian history.
Jack recently was honored with the CM Russel Heritage Award, and a Native American Music Award.
2013 marks the 29th year that Jack has been sharing insight about about Montana's Indigenous people at Glacier National Park.
The Native American vote has become an important part of the electorate. Native Americans make up about 8 percent of Montana, roughly 6.5 percent of all voters. A number that has been increasing since 2004.