Vision Maker Media Out in the Field

Kumeyaay and Luiseño Country

VMM’s Projects Team visits Southern California

Article and photos provided by Kris Stanley, Project Coordinator at Vision Maker Media

Sycuan is only one of many bands of Native communities we were visiting grouped under the name Kumeyaay, but who originally identify as Ipai, Tipai and Kamia. We also ventured north into some southern Luiseño (Payómkawichum) lands. It was an ambitious schedule, visiting multiple communities each day. I was struck by the beauty of the area, with its rolling hills riddled everywhere with large stones, fertile with cactus, white sage, and orchards of orange and lemon and avocado trees.

Vision Maker Media’s Projects Team was visiting Southern California both to coincide with the Tribal Child Care Association of California’s quarterly conference, and to introduce ourselves to tribal communities in the area to inform them about our organization and let them know about the educational resources and programs we have available at VMM. Beyond our desire to connect tribal education and cultural centers to our existing resources, we wanted to listen and hear what the community needs and concerns were with connecting and positively engaging Native youth within their community. Some of the conversations we had were brief, some wanted to schedule a more formal follow-up with their tribal council, and some were ready to hit the ground running with collaborations surrounding our Native Youth Media Project.

The trip culminated with a lovely reception dinner for the closing of the TCCAC quarterly meeting where we were invited to more formally present our vision for collaboration and support of Native youth by strengthening storytelling skills through media making. By the end of the evening, we had been able to connect with many people, witness some beautiful singing and dance, and even leave with a few stunning pieces from the silent auction. A successful trip by all accounts, and we’re looking forward to our future collaborations with Southern California Native communities.

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.


Program 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.