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National Geographic All Roads Film Project Forms Partnerships For American Indian Summer Institute


Native Media and Technology Network, Indigenous Language Institute, Fox Entertainment Group, Community Prophets and Naninaaq Productions Join With All Roads to Promote Native Storytelling in Commercial Media

WASHINGTON - The National Geographic All Roads Film Project; Native Media and Technology Network (NMTN); Indigenous Language Institute (ILI); Fox Entertainment Group; Naninaaq Productions; and Community Prophets, Australia, are partnering to develop a series of professional workshops and training opportunities for Native students at the eighth annual American Indian Summer Institute (AISI). The first partnership training will take place July 12-18, 2009, at the University of California, Los Angeles, campus. Participants will be accepted via nomination from the member organizations.

AISI was founded in 2002 with the guidance of Southern California Indian Center, which was instrumental in the recruitment and participation of the Southern California tribes. In addition, NMTN joined with Fox to help orchestrate a national outreach effort, drawing participants from across the United States.

“Our affiliation with All Roads and National Geographic Society has provided the training program to go global,” said Gerald Alcantar, vice president of diversity development at Fox.

“This focus on a global indigenous collaboration to increase Native American and indigenous peoples’ access and participation in the media and entertainment industry can only expand media-related employment and business opportunities for under-represented communities,” said Syd Beane, Flandreau Santee Sioux tribal member and national coordinator of NMTN.

According to UNESCO’s “Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger,” more than 2,500 languages are in danger of dying — with the United States ranking second only to India with the highest number of diminishing languages. This new partnership aims to address the problem by giving American Indian students nationwide an opportunity to explore and experience media incorporating their native languages, train them in mixed media with new global indigenous perspectives and provide a global platform of opportunities to showcase their work.

“Like ILI, National Geographic is concerned with the urgency to record diminishing languages and the need to assist communities worldwide in the documentation process of these languages, in order to have them accessible to younger generations to revitalize. Currently in its sixth year, the All Roads Film Project has the global platforms and resources to bring cultural exchanges of creative storytelling in film and media to the American Indian Summer Institute,” said Francene Blythe, of Diné, Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota and Eastern Band Cherokee heritage and director of the National Geographic All Roads Film Project. “This partnership will bring together five dynamic organizations that can pool their resources to broaden the reach of indigenous voices from Native America and bring them out to the world.”

“Indigenous Language Institute is excited about the positive impact that our partnership can achieve for Native peoples in revitalizing culture and language,” said Inée Slaughter, executive director of ILI. “By providing indigenous people training in ILI’s technology tools to document their languages, history, stories and songs and to create vibrant language materials, we can ensure that the endangered languages will have a deservedly distinguished presence and permanence in the global community.”

AISI will feature Native American and international indigenous industry luminaries, who will examine creative storytelling through media, provide a cultural exchange of indigenous perspectives on story, community and self-identity, and provide mentoring on technical aspects of mixed media. Additional workshops are planned for 2010.

A showcase of All Roads international films will wrap up the week’s training on Saturday, July 18, at the James Bridges Theatre at the University of California, Los Angeles, campus. For a full screening schedule and to purchase tickets, visit

About the All Roads Film Project
The All Roads Film Project is a National Geographic program dedicated to providing a platform for indigenous and under-represented minority-culture storytellers around the world to showcase their works, in film and photography, to promote knowledge, dialogue, and understanding with a broader, global audience. In addition to providing a venue for their films, All Roads offers its filmmakers and photographers a series of networking opportunities and awards a minimum of 10 seed grants a year to support the development and production of film and video projects by or about indigenous and under-represented minority-culture communities. Seed grant recipients are considered for inclusion in other National Geographic-affiliated broadcast outlets. The All Roads Photography Program provides photographers with award money, cameras and photography equipment to assist with their fieldwork.

About the Native Media and Technology Network
NMTN works through its affiliated organizations to provide media training, production and distribution assistance to Native film-makers and their communities. These groups have included among others: Southern California Indian Centers Intertribal Entertainment Program based in Fountain Valley, Calif., Native American Public Telecommunications headquartered in Lincoln, Neb., Migizi Communications located in Minneapolis, Minn., Native American Community Development Institute in Minneapolis, Minn., Sound of American Records (SOAR) of Albuquerque, N.M., Banner/Caswell Productions in Santa Monica, Calif., and the Oglala Lakota College Film Program on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Oneida Nation of New York Four Directions Media Company, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians from Portland, Ore., Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians of Southern California and the Pacific Islanders in Communications in Honolulu, Hawaii, have also partnered with NMTN and Fox Entertainment Group during the American Indian Summer Institute in Los Angeles.

About the Indigenous Language Institute
The Indigenous Language Institute provides vital language-related services to Native communities so that their individual identities, traditional wisdom and values are passed on in the original languages to future generations while the Elder Speakers are still with us. ILI acts on this mission by researching best practices in language acquisition and using this research to teach communities how to create Native language media that will increase the use and presence of their languages in everyday life. Communications and multimedia technology is a powerful tool that helps document, preserve and revitalize the endangered indigenous languages for the future. ILI’s technology workshops are designed for beginners to advanced computer users. The training fosters intergenerational collaboration to create print and audiovisual materials that document language and rich content such as history, memories, songs and traditional tales. With technology tools, the cultural information, the elders’ voices and the language can be shared over time and distance. This empowerment will help build a critical mass of materials to surround children, families and communities with the language. Workshops are offered monthly at ILI headquarters in Santa Fe, N.M., as well as at tribal sites regionally.

About Naninaaq Productions
Naninaaq Productions is an Indigenous media production and training company that creates documentary and drama and fosters young creative minds by facilitating training and mentorship opportunities. The program for Indigenous and at-risk youth in Alaska and Australia focuses on honoring traditional storytelling by promoting new voices in contemporary media. Naninaaq Productions is currently in the process of establishing the first media hub and interactive Indigenous Network on the North Slope of Alaska.

About Community Prophets
Community Prophets is a social justice media agency specializing in long-term training, employment and production partnerships with Indigenous and at-risk youth and their communities. Producing broadcast television series, cross-platform interactive online dramas, documentaries and hundreds of youth training films for over a decade in Australia, Community Prophets has recently partnered with Indigenous training and production house Naninaaq Productions in Alaska to focus on building community-owned and -operated media centers.


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