In the Fall of 2011, a call from Shirley Sneve, the Executive Director at Native American Public Telecommunications (now known as Vision Maker Media) started an incredible four year journey that has taken us to some incredible places.
The project was a television series called Growing Native, documenting stories of how native people are returning to the life ways of their ancestors for health and well being today.
Our first year on the project was spent budgeting and developing story concepts for episodes to be filmed in seven regions of the United States and Canada. We filmed episodes in the Pacific Northwest for two different stretches and in Alaska on a 10-day jaunt across the state.
It's impossible to describe in words the amount of inspiration we received from dozens of incredible Native Americans we met from tribes across Oregon, Washington and Alaska. VisionMaker Media now has an incredibly talented producer working on the next five episodes within their organization, and we are very excited to see where the series ends up when it is fully produced.
The highlight of the project for me was a comment made from a member of the advisory council, who served as consultants for the story lines of the episodes.
"Storytelling is what maintained our culture through the hardest of times," he told me, "you are helping play that role for another generation of our people."