It’s no secret. Our world revolves around media. It connects us. It influences us. It educates us. We welcome it into our homes through our televisions. We share it with our families through social media. Which is why Native representation in the media is so important. Especially at a time when media is so significant to who we are as a society—it’s essential that Native voices are part of the narrative.
Invisibility of Native culture in the media creates a void that is filled by toxic stereotypes and false narratives including racist mascots, over-sexualized portrayals of women, offensive costumes and inaccurate stereotypes in movies and films.
We can heal through stories. By empowering Indigenous communities to tell their stories, we can cultivate a more diverse, more understanding world. Native representation in the media allows Native youth grow up with stories that represent their backgrounds and with figures that embody their culture. These stories can generate important public conversations about present-day Native issues, and shed a long-overdue light on the other half of American history.
We’ve funded and trained Native filmmakers to share their stories with the world. Starting in 1976, Vision Maker Media evolved from film, VHS, DVD and now to online streaming, and we continue to showcase the most compelling Native stories for public broadcasting on local PBS stations and online.
*Statistic provided by IllumiNative at illuminatives.org
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.
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.