« This Day in the Maya Calendar (Winter 2012) | Main | Andean Journal: Chawaytiri Energy »

March 01, 2012

NMAI Welcomes Student-Filmmakers From the Rosebud Indian Reservation

DSC_3931            A group of teachers and high school students from the Todd County High School on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota visit our museum's imagiNATIONS Activity Center on Monday, Feb. 27.

Earlier this week the museum welcomed a special group of visitors from Mission, South Dakota, a small town located on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Comprised of students and teachers from the Todd County High School, the group had traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress for better support and more funding for schools on reservations like their own. For both students and teachers, it was their first trip to the nation's capital.

The students and their teachers, Heather Hanson and Kim Bos, know how to get their voices heard. They've already attracted nationwide attention from NPR and other media outlets with a video they produced and posted to YouTube in December that has since garnered more than 55,000 pageviews (and counting). The video, titled “More Than That,” is a response to the recently aired ABC 20/20 special, “Hidden America: Children of the Plains,” a year-long investigation into conditions on the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, also in South Dakota. 

The 20/20 special followed Diane Sawyer as she interviewed Pine Ridge residents about the seemingly endless obstacles they face -- alcoholism, poverty, neglect, violence, crime. But for some viewers, including a contributor to Indian Country Today, the episode put too much emphasis on the dismal conditions of rez life without addressing the reasons behind these conditions and how they're being addressed and overcome.

DSC_3920Todd County High School senior John Whirlwind Soldier, who directed "More Than That," tours the museum's exhibition, "A Song for the Horse Nation," during a visit to the museum on Monday, Feb. 27.

After watching the special, Hanson, an English teacher, decided to screen the film in her classroom and ask her students what they thought. Displeased with footage that seemed to reinforce stereotypes about rez life, the students suggested creating a "rebuttal video" of sorts.

"We didn't do this to poke fun at ABC or slap Diane Sawyer in the face," said Kim Bos, the high school’s video technology teacher, whose class of 10th, 11th and 12th graders teamed up with Hanson's students to put the video together. "But as one of my students pointed out, 17 minutes of the 48-minute program showed scenes of people crying. And what they're learning right now is that video-editing is as much about what you take out as what you leave in."

Their video, shot in black and white, features students in the high school using their arms, hands and faces to reveal aspects of their daily life and culture that are often overlooked: pride, style, humor, and peace, among others.

“I know what you probably think of us,” one student says to camera. "I saw the special too," another adds. "Maybe you saw a picture .. Or read an article ... But we're here because we want you to know ... We're more than that."


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference NMAI Welcomes Student-Filmmakers From the Rosebud Indian Reservation:


I'm so glad to see the young people taking action and speaking up for themselves, about time. I hope they take this lesson forward and make positive contributions in their communities as a way to fight against the negative sterotypes.

As a student of verbal tradition where my parents handed down their stories to me, I learned that stories of hardships are not intended for self-pitying. The stories served to demonstrate the resilience of our ancestors and how one can overcome despite sheer obstacles.

I have carried these stories with me and have referred to them throughout my life. I live my life in a way to contrast with the stereotypes people have of indian people because many of my relatives (here or gone) who are/were people of honor, humor, resilience, strength, grace, wisdom, will, and courage.

It is good to see young people finding their voice.

yes, I am also very pleased to visit this blog and this place that feels like it's culture. and I also really like to know the original tribe of indians are not only seen in museums. must be very pleased when visiting the museum apalgi together with friends. thanks for info

thanks for your information about6 thah

This is very nice to visit the museum so more students can understand and will understand the culture.

It's fantastic to see the youth experience such memorable events. Exposure to culture and everything it stands for is priceless.

This is something they will definitely remember for the rest of their lives. It's impacting, influential, and is something they will appreciate in the years to come.

Great post.

I'm sure it would have been a great experience for those young people.


I am all for funding education, but my understanding is that reservations are allocations of land for a separate Nation within the borders of USA...why would China fund USA schools? In the like manner, why should America fund this Nations youths' education?

Great work!!!

Greg: To compare this with a China/USA construct is just plain misleading. Have a look at your history book again and reflect upon what has happened to the American Indians in the past. Any signs of guilt or shame?

Thanks for sharing such a great information !

I appreciate your work about national museum. Its always good to see Museum and learn about history.

The comments to this entry are closed.