I accomplished each of the goals that I set for this project. I learned a great deal about producing creative work within the structure of tribal government with the aim of promoting tribal soverignty and community wellness. I was able to learn exactly how tribally-produced documentary work benefits my tribal community.
I learned more about every aspect of the filmmaking process through this internship: from screenwriting to production, but one an unexpected lesson was how to produce high quality work on a relatively low budget. While I have worked for larger production companies, the Chickasaw Nation Multimedia and Heritage Series departments have to make the most out of the resources that they have to produce content that looks identical to the quality of other professional production companies.
I also gained a much greater understanding of the social nuances of my tribal community and tribal nations throughout the United States. I plan to apply this knowledge to my coursework and professional life. One of my ongoing projects is working with tribal elders across the Carolinas to produce educational materials about North Carolina’s Indigenous Nations. Tribal communities in Oklahoma and North Carolina share many social characteristics such as the predominance of Christianity and proximity to non-Native populations.
I gained a wealth of knowledge and was able to do creative work that positively impacted my tribal community, but this experience has also made me realize the importance of being in community with other Chickasaw people. I discovered that one will not be able to make a positive impact for their community unless they are in constant dialogue and listening to their needs. I have also learned that my perspective growing up within a different tribal community is valuable. I am able to more clearly see many needs in my tribal community with my lens as a Native person from New Mexico.