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