Commemorating Frank Blythe

Legendary Native Media Giant Makes His Journey Home.

Francis Frank Marion Blythe, Jr, 82 of Lincoln, passed away on July 21, 2023. Frank was destined to be one of Indian Country’s foremost storytellers. He was born in Pipestone, Minnesota where his Eastern Cherokee Father and Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Mother made their home. This is the site of the pipestone quarry which continues to speak the sacred pipe stories that honor us all. His family moved to Phoenix, Arizona where Frank made many friends and enjoyed playing baseball. He also met the love of his life Bernie, a member of the Navajo Nation, and graduated from Arizona State University. Frank career in public television also started their in operations management with KAET-TV licensed at ASU.


Funeral arrangements entrusted to Butherus-Maser & Love Funeral Home. Online condolences may be left at
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM on Thursday, July 27, 2023 at North American Martyrs Catholic Church.
Interment will be in the Calvary Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to Vision Maker Media

Event Gallery

Videos edited by Frank Blanquet (Yucatec Maya) from First Nations Experience

Additional Communications from Public Broadcasting Entities:

Washington, D.C. (July 22, 2023) – Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB), released the following statement today regarding the death of Frank Blythe, founding executive director of the Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium, precursor to Vision Maker Media. 

“Frank Blythe was a visionary leader who was proud of his Native American heritage and who elevated and shared authentic stories of Native American culture.

“He was one of six Native Americans on the organizing committee for Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium (NAPBC) and executive director of the organization for its first 30 years.

“During Frank’s tenure, NAPBC launched the CPB-supported $500,000 annual television program fund (now known as Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Fund), for Native producers to produce stories and Native productions. NAPBC also began American Indian Radio on Satellite (AIROS), which launched The Native Radio Network and Native America Calling as the first daily all-Native live radio talk show, which is still on the air today.

“Frank’s legacy is Vision Maker Media, which continues to empower and engage Native peoples to share their stories under the outstanding leadership of Frank’s daughter, Francene Blythe-Lewis.

“May looking back in memory be a comfort to his family and all who knew him.”

View more of Kevin Pourier’s work by visiting his social media and website links below.

Washington, D.C. – July 21, 2023 – America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler issued the following statement today:

“America’s Public Television Stations join the entire public broadcasting family in mourning the passing of Frank Blythe, the founding and long-time executive director of Vision Maker Media and its predecessor organizations.

“Mr. Blythe and a few of his colleagues created a programming service dedicated to telling the stories of Native Americans more than half a century ago, and that essential work now continues under the leadership of his daughter, Francene Blythe-Lewis.

“One of the most important missions of public television is to tell the whole story of America, and no one told the story of the First Americans better than Frank Blythe.

“His contributions to our culture and our understanding of our nation’s history will live forever.”

Dr. Laura Hunter, Vision Maker Media Board Member, memorializes Blythe by saying, “I think of the powerful stories that would not have been told if Vision Maker Media weren’t around. Mr. Blythe’s legacy for Native filmmakers and storytellers, as well as public media viewers across the country, is quite remarkable. We’re lucky to have benefited from his work to establish Vision Maker Media over 45 years ago, and knowing it continues with his daughter Francene Blythe-Lewis at the helm, should be assuring to all of us in the public media family.”

Frank and peggy B
(2) wallace mabel frank
Vinnie and Frank

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.


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.