This past weeks readings and discussions really struck a cord with me. Last semester I was in Gina’s Media Arts for Social Justice course. I worked on a project called “Indigitize” at Sherman Indian High School. Indigitize is a weekly workshop that the MS students facilitate at Sherman to bring equipment and technical experience/knowledge to the students to allow them to create their own media and video projects. The students decide what they want to film and how to film it. Before going to Sherman I read a lot about the history of the high school as an assimilation school and really opened my mind to another aspect of native history that was erased from an education I had previously.
Watching those documentaries really brought me back to the work I did with the Sherman students last semester. I was thinking about how the whole “giving a voice” conversation related to my presence at Sherman and I reflected on that. My positionally as a facilitator of that workshop is very important to reflect upon. I was always cautious of what I said and did because I really wanted the students to trust me and feel free to create media pieces that are important to them. I was always conflicted with how much of my “knowledge and experience” was even necessary or applicable to the overall goal of the process. These thoughts were always working in my head, and watching the documentaries and discussing documentary as a genre and “giving a voice” just really called for me to re-reflect on that experience.
Working with Sherman has had a lasting effect on me and really does inform a lot of my media practices.
Also, everyone should check out the Sherman videos on the Arts4Justice YouTube page! There is other great content with other community partners on the channel as well!
If you are interested in Sherman specific videos here are some to start with:
“Native Women Are” Teaser : This is part of a longer piece that I am still working on.