The legacy of a vision maker
my father frank blythe
“Our ancestors are still with us.
They are heard through the whispers of the healing buffalo grasslands,
dancing in the wind, and within the laughter of our children.
They give us insight into their past and inspire our visions of the future.”
My father, Frank Blythe, could hear our ancestors, and he could see their vision. He committed himself to empowering and engaging Native people to share their stories with the world. He envisioned a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and knowledge. His legacy continues through Vision Maker Media in the creative expression of those supported today and the future voices of tomorrow.
From the day of his birth on the sacred lands of Pipestone, Minnesota—the land that continues to speak the sacred pipe stories that honor us all—my father ingrained in me this wisdom. He taught me virtually everything I know. When I was 5, he used to have me say the pledge of allegiance while sitting on his lap as he closed his radio show time. That was my first experience in media. Since he was a wonderfully animated storyteller, he encouraged me to study in the arts and sciences. My dad may have been destined to become public media’s foremost Native storyteller, and I too attempt to follow in his footsteps—after all, he was my father.
Some of the most memorable instances where people shared stories of working with my dad was that he talked to everyone. He gave his undivided time and attention to have a meaningful conversation with those around him. He was a humble man and he instilled that characteristic in all of his children and grandchildren. My dad’s greatest wisdom he passed to me was, “when there’s a will, there’s a way,” and “do what you think is right.” My father made many friends who became colleagues who worked with him and made possible his journey and career in public media. He passed away quietly July 21, 2023.
Today, as the current Executive Director of Vision Maker Media, I have the great honor of continuing and building upon my father, Frank Blythe’s vision and legacy. He always believed in the power of storytelling and nurturing tomorrow’s Vision Makers to help share their stories with the world.