Vanishing Culture is dedicated to celebrating the culture of the Natives that have inhabited the Alaska interior for over 15,000 years.
The Natives inhabiting the interior of Alaska have been there for over 15,000 years. Except for missionaries and a few trappers and traders, the white man was virtually non-existent there until the mid-nineteenth century. In this part of America, the relationships that developed between the white man and the Indian were far more peaceful than in the lower 48. There were no bloody battles like those associated with the settling and taming of the west. In Alaska there existed a different kind of war....A Culture War....that still brews to this day.
I took my first trip to Tok, Alaska in 2003 where I met Athabaskan Indian Chief Danny Adams of Tetlin. After spending a few weeks with the Natives, I was fascinated by their lifestyle and their stories. When I returned home, I tried to learn more about my new found friends and much to my dismay, there wasn't a lot of information available out there. What I did find out was that since their introduction to the white man back in the mid 1800's, their culture and subsistence lifestyle had come under attack by numerous sources. It started in 1885 when they were stripped of their language and forced to speak English in all the schools. The introduction of modern technologies (which they embraced) collided with a subsistence lifestyle that they had been accustomed to for over 15,000 years and this forced them to live between two worlds.
Alaska Native languages, centuries' old customs and their way of life have been eroding for over a hundred years....fortunately in recent years there has been a concerted effort by some to restore these lost treasures. Vanishing Culture will aide in this effort by documenting and educating the viewers about this important component of our history.
Being in the film and television business for 30 years, I decided that their story needed to be told. Since then, I have made 4 trips back to Tetlin to visit with and learn more about these amazing people. After a fair amount of research, my wife Linda and I started shooting Vanishing Culture last September in Fairbanks, Tetlin and Tanacross.
We encourage you to visit our web site www.vanishingculture.com and view some of our interviews and our 10 minute trailer so you too can see and hear some of this amazing story that we have only just begun to tell and learn more about the project we are producing.
Vanishing Culture will be told in 4 chapters; History; Art & Culture; Music & Dance and The Potlatch. Our goal is not only to educate but also to celebrate the history and various cultures of the Native people of Alaska.
Vanishing Culture will enable our Native friends to share their entire story with the world ..... and with your help, this can be accomplished.
We have already spent over $25,000 of our own money getting this far into the process. With these limited funds we have worked bare-bones style to get the project started with the result so far being our 10 minute teaser reel. We are raising $250,000 in order to finish this documentary. We need these funds to do the following:
Over the next year, we need to make 4 more trips to Alaska; one during each season. This will enable us to show first hand how the Natives really live and how they have survived thousands of years in such extreme conditions. We need to cover round trip transportation to and within Alaska for the cast and crew.
The funds will also be used to increase our crew size so that we can maintain the production values needed to maintain a professional look.
Post production will be a long and arduous process. We also need to secure the rights to an untold number of still photos both old and new.
Music will play a very important role in the finished product. We have been researching Native musicians from Alaska to Arizona for the right sound. We may be able to use some existing songs in some areas but an original score will most likely render the best results.
We want to thank some of the people who have already taken the time to help us with this video. Their expertise, input and advice so far have been priceless.
Danny Adams, Athabaskan Chief, Tetlin Kenny Thomas, Athabaskan Chief, Tanacross Cora David, Athabaskan School Teacher (Ret.) Michael Krauss, Founder, Alaska Native Language Center, UAF Lawrence D. Kaplan, Director, Alaska Native Language Center, UAF Gary Holton, Director, Alaska Native Language Archive, UAF Siri Tuttle, Associate Professor, Alaska Native Language Center, UAF Kathy R. Sikorski, Gwich'in Instructor, Alaska Native Language Center, UAF Walkie Charles, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Alaska Native Language Program Velma Wallis, Gwich'In Author Dixie Alexander, Cultural Program Director, Tanana Chiefs Conference Bill Stevens, Alaskan Gwich'in Fiddler
Pete Peter, Musician and Venetie Tribal Counsel (Ret.) Robert Doyle, Owner, Canyon Records, Phoenix, AZ R. Carlos Nakai, Navajo/Ute Flautist William Eaton, Musician Will Chapman, Musician Young Connection Dancers: Kyle Henry, Martese Chappell, Tashina Pitka Skylar Edwin, Raymond Frank, Jessica Brigham
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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