William Shelton (1868-1938) set out to save the traditions, culture, and language of the Tulalip Tribes during a time of eradication. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on May 30, 2013.
About this project
This documentary film depicts the life of William Shelton who was born in 1868, at a time when Coast Salish culture and traditions were being destroyed by European contact and disease. He had an essential role in saving the traditions and language of the Tulalip people by writing down the stories and legends of the tribes of the Puget Sound as well as creating story poles depicting the animals, legends and spirit quests from these stories. William Shelton's first story pole was 60 feet high and erected in 1913 on the Tulalip reservation. He went on to make poles for other communities as far away as Pennsylvania. He was completing the story pole that stood on the Capitol Campus in Olympia, WA at the time of his death in 1938.
He spent the last half of his life promoting the American Indian culture throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. While embracing European ideas he made it his mission to preserve and promote local native traditions and culture.
This was well documented in newspaper articles, ethnographic papers, photographs, and even film. Our goal is to bring these elements together in a documentary that includes interviews with historians, elders who knew him including his grandson, and others in the community that he influenced.
Why we need the funds.
Our goal is to have a broadcast quality film that can be aired on TV stations and small independent theaters, ultimately PBS or the History Channel. We need funding to conduct more interviews, provide additional footage of the poles as they exist today, and to cover costs of editing, post production, and securing distribution rights.
We want to talk to the surviving members of William Shelton's family and to others who remember him while they are still with us. We want to raise awareness of the importance of preserving what is left of these poles for generations to come.
David Dilgard, Historian: During his career as a regional history specialist, David has made more than fifty presentations a year for local schools, service clubs and other organizations, as well as numerous radio and television appearances. He often conducts historical tours and his tour of Evergreen Cemetery was recently posted as a podcast on the Everett Public Library's website (epls.org). He received an Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Washington State Historic Preservation Office, and in 2009 David and co-worker Margaret Riddle were recipients of the Robert Gray Medal awarded by the Washington State Historical Society.
Lita Sheldon, Executive Producer: has been researching and collecting information on Tulalip Indians since the 1970s. While working for the Tulalip Tribes, she oversaw the production of videos focusing on Tulalip history and culture. Now, with the establishment of her own company, Quil Ceda Media, Lita’s goal is to produce an hour-long documentary on the life and art of Tulalip leader William Shelton (1868-1938). Lita’s video credits include the production of the Tulalip History Series, Tulalip oral biographical interviews, the Lushootseed Language series, and Northwest Indian News (2004-2009). With Margaret Riddle, she is currently videotaping interviews of Snohomish County historians.
Jeff Boice www.boicetv.com, Producer, Director, Camera, Editor: Credits include "The Healing Pole" producer/videographer/editor for NorthWest Indian News - syndicated worldwide; "Louder Than Words" final post editor - Jamaican Music Documentary; Good Morning America "Best Places to Live" videographer; "Dave Chalk Computer Show" Director of Photography - syndicated worldwide; Discovery Channel - Storm Warning "Mayhem & Miracles" videographer; and many more. After 20 years as a producer, videographer and editor at KVOS TV, he is now an award winning independent film maker who is committed to producing meaningful projects that evoke thought and emotion.
Lyn Boice, Co-producer, writer: has collaborated with Jeff on many video projects over the years. Though her background is more in technical writing and marketing, in recent years she has enjoyed researching and writing for biographies. She has found the William Shelton story captivating.
JD Mowrer, Interviewer: Video credits include an internship at KVOS-TV in Bellingham, WA; a reporter/announcer on NorthWest Indian News (KSTW-TV); and the producer of memorial videos for Tulalip Tribes. JD’s stint as an NWIN reporter took him to the Colville Reservation and the Lummi Reservation.
We have already completed an 11 minute segment about the very first story pole he carved, titled "William Shelton and the Sklaletut Pole". This short just received Best Documentary Short & Best Overall Film at the Hibulb Cultural Center 2013 Film Festival.
Risks and challenges
Our immediate need is to raise enough funds to take care of the remainder of the shooting and editing. We feel that can be accomplished with $30,000.
We will need further funds to pay for license fees, for use of archive photographs and footage for distribution. The more funds we get the better chance we have to reach our goal of PBS and / or the History Channel.
Those who knew or met William Shelton when they were children would be in their 80's or 90's now. So a big challenge will be to get them to talk on camera while this is possible. We have already overcome the large task of scanning, converting, and digesting the vast amount of information we have so far; photographs, newspaper articles, clippings, books, and even film into usable video. Most of that is done and awaiting the editing process.
The goal of this film is for William Shelton to capture your heart too!
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- (45 days)