Native Students Make Reservation Video

(reprinted from Independent Observer Article 3/7/02, by Kathryn Gleason)

Peer Counseling students from Point Arena High School are working on a documentary of reservation life. They have been working on the project since December, and will finish filming this weekend. The documentary, which features footage from both the Point Arena and Manchester Rancherias as well as Kashia, will be screened on April 12 at the Arena Theater in Point Arena.

Junior Darrell Bechtol and Vincent Marrufo, armed with digital camera and microphone, filmed in Point Arena last Tuesday. They were interviewing people on their perceptions of Native Americans and seemed to be surprised at the level of awareness of those they spoke to.

"We've been getting a lot of respect for this. Not many people would think we would be doing something like this," said Bechtol. "We want to let people know that after all the stuff Indians have been through, we're still here. We want to reach the youth with this. Some of them have had hard times with drug and alcohol abuse, and we want to show them that they can come up out of that and make interesting things happen."

The film will include interviews with elders from both the Manchester/Point Arena Rancheria and Kashia, as well as tours of all three locations. Native American Youth Liason worker Yolanda O'Campo is working with students to make sure that they follow and honor Native American traditions in the video as well as in their lives.

O'Campo explained that Indian people have historically been stripped of their traditional ways and beliefs. "A lot of our cultural information got lost during the termination era, when our people were forced to give up their beliefs. When our traditional ways got taken away, there was no replacement. So today, we're trying to instill a sense of pride in the kids."

Assisted by local poet Blake More and filmmaker Cybirk, the students are using mini-dvd cameras along with a high-8 camera for their footage. They will begin editing on a donated computer this weekend.

Student Brandon Wilder is working with Marrufo to create an original soundtrack for the movie, using the equipment and guidence of local musician Keith Abrams.

The documentary was made possible primarily through grant funding from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County through a grant written by Kim Swenson and Blake More under the auspices of the North Coast Rural Challenge Network. It is also supported by the Mendocino Youth Project, The California Labor Board, Point Arena High School, Kashi Rancheria, and Manchester/Point Arena Rancheria.



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