Dedicated to
Our Mission

Our mission and vision

Vision Maker Media’s mission is empowering and engaging Native people to share stories.

We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

Photo from "What Was Ours"
Image from What Was Ours

PUBLIC MEDIA BY & ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS

What began as a film archive to conserve and document Native American stories, transformed into the nation’s leader in content by and about Indigenous people for public broadcasting. Vision Maker Media works with Native producers to develop, produce, and distribute programs to educate audiences. We empower Native youth to grow up with stories that represent their backgrounds and with figures that embody their culture. Vision Maker Media generates important public conversations about present-day Native issues and sheds a long-overdue light on the foundation of American history through Native American stories.

What We Do
Explore What We Do At
Vision Maker Media

Our Values

Image from Under the Battle Tipi
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THE PREMIER SOURCE OF PUBLIC MEDIA BY AND ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS FOR OVER 47 YEARS.
Vision Maker Media’s mission is empowering and engaging Native American people to share their stories. We envision a world healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. We work with VMM funded producers to develop, produce and distribute programs for all public media. VMM supports training to increase the number of Native Americans and Alaska Natives producing public broadcasting programs.

We bring Indigenous storytelling to your home through community-based digital events, social media feeds and online film programs.

Nurturing Youth

We nurture the next generation of storytellers through partnerships with sustainable Native youth media training programs.

Mentorship & Funding

We provide Native filmmakers with professional workshops, funding, internships and mentorship programs.

Education

We help educators effectively cover present-day and historical Native topics through free viewer discussion guides.

Our Team

Francene Blythe-Lewis

Executive Director

(Diné, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Eastern Band Cherokee)

Julianna Brannum

Director of Public Media Programs

(Comanche)

gregg jablonski

Director of Accounting, Finance, & Administration

Ann Mckeighan

Administrative Project Coordinator

Alana Stone

Project Manager

(Sicangu Lakota)

Brittany Grove

Contracts & Accounting Associate

Whitney Jakimowicz

Digital Media Specialist

Jordana bass

Project coordinator

(Hataža Mani Winga)

Martin Tallinger

Digital Marketing Consultant

(Santee Sioux)

Walter Pourier

Creative Director

(Oglala Lakota, Cheyenne River)

Leala Pourier

Communications Specialist

(Oglala Lakota, Cheyenne River)

Board of Directors

Kate Beane

Chair

Laura hunter

Vice Chair

Paul Hunton

SECRETARY

RANDAL P. HANSEN​

Treasurer

Jason Booth

Yvonne Bushyhead

Phil Hoffman

andrew okpeaha maclean

Darius lee smith

Our Work

Nuturing Youth

We nurture the next generation of storytellers through partnerships with sustainable Native youth media training programs.

Mentorship & Funding

We provide Native filmmakers with professional workshops, funding, internships and mentorship programs.

Education

We help educators effectively cover present-day and historical Native
topics through free viewer discussion guides.

FOR OVER 47 YEARS
We've Educated
The Nation

Vision Maker Media fans and media consumers spread vastly across the United States and even worldwide, reaching younger and older audiences alike. Distinctive Native American tribes, cultures, histories and stories can be found everywhere and can be enjoyed by all age groups.

National Multicultural alliance

An alliance of five distinct national organizations, we bring authentic stories and diverse perspectives of America’s multicultural communities to public media and its digital platforms, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Learn more at nmcalliance.org

explore what we do at vision maker media

Learn why Native representation in the media is vitally important.
See the positive impact we’re making for our filmmakers in your community.

News & Updates

Explore film updates, learn more about modern-day Native culture, go behind the scenes with the filmmakers, and keep up with the latest and greatest at Vision Maker Media.

Francene Blythe-Lewis

Executive Director

Diné, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Eastern Band Cherokee

“The visionary”

Role: Francene oversees and directs the entire staff at Vision Maker Media. She keeps her team moving towards our mission to propel VMM to the forefront of storytelling, innovation and creative thinking. An advocate for supporting Native American filmmakers and Native American media, she believes the most important aspects of Native and Indigenous stories are rooted throughout the millennia of time.

Executive Director Francene Blythe-Lewis

JULIANNA BRANNUM

Director of Public Media Programs

Comanche

"The Programmer"
Role: As Director of Programs, Julianna oversees the Public Media Fund as well as acquisitions, marketing, and distribution for all VMM’s titles. Her years of filmmaking experience give her the drive to help filmmakers through the whole process from development to delivery. She doesn’t mind holding your hand through the scary parts and loves to celebrate your storytelling achievements. A Gen-Xer to the core, she’ll advocate for you when you need it.

Gregg Jablonski

Director of Accounting, Finance & Administration

“Money Man”

Role: Gregg makes sure the budget is balanced, and keeps Vision Maker Media from getting in trouble (at least financially). Gregg likes to laugh while dealing with numbers but occasionally cries. Gregg enjoys his new Vision Maker Media friends.

Director of Accounting and Finance Gregg Jablonski

Ann McKeighan

Administrative Project Coordinator

"Detail Queen"

Role: Ann is the glue tying all the departments together, making sure no detail gets swept under the rug. From Shop Vision Maker management, to organizing filmmaker contracts, final proofreading, and even office birthday celebrations, Ann isn’t just the department assistant. She’s the department superhero.

Alana Stone

Project Manager

Sicangu Lakota

"Office Fashionista"

Role: Alana is the resident event planner and grant writing expert at Vision Maker Media. You can find her calmly and quietly juggling all the many moving parts for the next big event between sips of kombucha.

Project Manager Alana Stone

Brittany Grove

Contracts & Accounting Associate

“Data Conqueror”

Role: Brittany gathers the moving pieces to our teams’ products and productions. She’s all about a proactive process within an ever evolving workplace. Enjoys heavily caffeinated contract reviewing with creative financial thinking.

Contracts and Accounting Associate Brittany Grove

Whitney Jakimowicz

Digital Media Specialist

"Creative Wizard"

Role: Whitney helps to strategize and coordinate advertising through marketing and station relations for the programs that go to broadcast. Whether it’s through graphics, photography, or video, you can find her working away using the Adobe Creative Cloud and figuring out the best way to promote the films.

JORDANA BASS

Project Coordinator​

(Hataža Mani Winga)​

"Cinema Aficionado"

Role: Jordana is excited to engage with different Native/Indigenous communities. Her passion for working with youth will help develop the Native Youth Media Project. She will also assist with the Creative Shorts Fellowship (CSF) to help organize deliverables for filmmakers.

Martin Tallinger

Digital Marketing Consultant

Sioux Launchan

"Sweet Tooth"

Delivering digital campaigns to the highest standards; analzying and optimizing and still being a bit creative, Martin has extensive experience in digital marketing for the past 20 years. Always looking on the bright side of life and having fun while working to boost everyone’s energy, even on a Monday.

Walter Pourier

Creative Director

(Oglala Lakota, Cheyenne River)

"Branding Master"

Role: Walt Pourier is the Creative Director and founder of Nakota Designs. Having been on the VMM Board of Directors for four years, two of which he served as the Vice Chair, Walt is very familiar with VMM’s vision and mission, as he helped to develop it. With his decades of experience in advertising, design, brand identity and marketing, as well as his lifelong commitment to Native country through community outreach and client work. Walt has inspired to create a single voice messaging to collective voice branding campaign for Vision Maker Media.

Leala Pourier

Communications Specialist

(Oglala Lakota, Cheyenne River)

"Master of Words"

Role: Leala is the Communications Specialist for Nakota Designs. She works with VMM on their social media outreach by implementing the new branding strategy created by Nakota Designs. Through the different social media platforms as well as the newsletter, Leala aims to show the world how important Native stories are to our developing society.

Kate Beane

Chair

Dr. Kate Beane is Flandreau Santee Sioux and holds a PhD in American Studies and a BA in American Indian Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and serves as adjunct faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is a board member for the Lower Phalen Creek Project, and in 2020 was appointed by Governor Walz to serve on the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board (CAAPB) in Saint Paul. In 2018 Kate and her father Syd Beane completed a documentary film, Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian, which shares the story of her grandfather, writer, reformer, and physician Charles A. Eastman and in 2019 she presented a Minneapolis TEDX talk titled “The Lasting Legacy of Place Names.”

LAURA HUNTER

Vice chair

Dr. Laura Hunter (she/her) is chief operating officer for the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) and station manager for public broadcaster KUEN, providing robust broadband and broadcast services statewide. Her team manages online learning platforms for all of Utah’s higher education institutions, schools, and public libraries. Hunter is a collaborative leader, recognized for finding innovative solutions to challenging problems. She serves on the board of America’s Public Television Stations and previously on the NETA executive committee. Hunter was co-PI for two NSF cyberinfrastructure grants and appointed by Utah’s Governor to manage the state’s college advising portal across several agencies. She is executive producer of over 280 innovative and award-winning videos, websites, and curricula. Dr. Hunter holds a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a research focus on educational technology, master’s degree in Education, and bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, certificates in Public Leadership from Harvard University, Non-Profit Leadership from Georgetown University, and Diversity Leadership from Furman University.
Laura Hunter

Paul Hunton

Secretary

Paul Allen Hunton is the President of WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio. He is a 3-time regional Emmy winning documentary director, a former member of the PBS Board of Directors, and the former chair of Texas PBS.

Before coming to North Carolina Paul was the General Manager of Texas Tech Public Media for 7 years where he led the successful acquisition of PBS El Paso and the strategic realignment of the organization into a regional multiplatform news and content company serving West Texas.

RANDAL P. HANSEN

Treasurer

Randal P. Hansen is treasurer for the Vision Maker Media board of directors, serving the organization for the past eight years. His experience in the nonprofit sector includes current positions as assistant general manager of administration and finance for the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission and University of Nebraska Television, and treasurer and assistant secretary for the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission and the NET Foundations for Television and Radio.

JASON BOOTH

Jason Booth is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. He is an experienced and entrepreneurial business executive who has worked with both corporate America and tribal communities through the businesses he has owned. Jason is currently a Principal and Owner with Windward Engineers & Consultants, an industry leading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering design services firm. Booth also started and ran The Patient Source, the nation’s largest Native-owned health education agency working with the healthcare industry. As a volunteer, Jason works with tribal organizations and non-profits focused on advancing the prospects for young people in education and commerce. Jason served on the board of directors of INROADS, Inc. where he helped the organization align their philanthropy program. Booth also worked with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation as they launched the entity and became the leader in assisting Natives with land recovery and control. Jason is married for 27 years and is the proud father of three college age children.
JASON BOOTH

YVONNE BUSHYHEAD

Yvonne Bushyhead is enrolled Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee have resided in the southeast for over 12,000 years. Ms. Bushyhead has a baccalaureate degree in Social Work, a Master’s degree in Education, and a Juris Doctorate. During her career, Yvonne served in the forming of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, served as the President of Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago, NE, and served as CEO of the Indian Health Board in Minneapolis, MN. She also toured Costa Rica on three occasions for 3-4 weeks each time regarding environmental issues, working for upholding environmental impacts and causes.
Yvonne Bushyhead

Phil Hoffman


Dr. Phil Hoffman is Assistant Dean of Media & General Manager at Ball State Public Media (BSPM). BSPM includes Ball State PBS and Indiana Public Radio, a radio network featuring NPR news and arts in East Central Indiana and the Indianapolis suburbs. A veteran public media leader, Phil has served in Ohio, Missouri, Florida and Indiana as a leader of public media stations. His media career began in Akron, Ohio at WKDD and WAKR. He also worked as a reporter and producer at WAKC TV in Akron and led 91.3 The Summit in Akron for nearly a decade. Phil has served on the boards of Florida Public Media, Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations, and NETA, as well at the Central Great Lakes and Mid-American Region National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean is an Iñupiaq filmmaker originally from Alaska, now living in Brooklyn, NY. Previous credits include the short films Natchiliagniaqtuguk Aapagalu: Seal Hunting With Dad, which played at the Sundance film Festival, Sikumi, which won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at Sundance, and the feature film On The Ice, which won a Crystal Bear and the Best First Feature Prize at the Berlinale. In his hometown of Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow, Alaska), Andrew co-founded the Iñupiat Theater, which was dedicated to performing shows entirely in the Iñupiaq language. He currently teaches directing in New York University’s Graduate Film Program, of which he is also an alumnus. Andrew is developing his second feature film, Qimmit. He is currently a writer on the prime-time drama Alaska Daily, which airs on ABC, and is also developing a limited series for FX.

DARIUS LEE SMITH

Darius Lee Smith currently serves as Executive Director of the National Indian Youth Council. Smith is a Navajo Nation tribal member and is also African American. His clans are Hashk’ąą Hadzohi (Yucca Fruit Strung Out on a Line), and he is born to Nahiłii Dine’é (Black/African American).

Darius earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Azusa Pacific University, a certificate in American Indian History and Cultures from the University of Denver, and a Masters in Nonprofit Management/Leadership Training and Development from Regis University.

Darius has served the American Indian community since 1992, previously as the Director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office and as the liaison to the Denver American Indian Commission, as well as the Director of Indian Education for Denver Public Schools, National Director of the Natives Peoples’ Initiative for Habitat for Humanity International, Board Member of the Denver Indian Center and President of the Colorado Indian Education Foundation.

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.