The history of the Native American Civil Rights Movement is a rarely touched-upon topic. It's even more rare for the elders of our community to be able to create their own narrative of the Native American Civil Rights Movement. After centuries of cultural genocide, preserving the stories of the Native American fight to have control of our own lives is important for Native communities who are trying to heal our people while rebuilding our culture and history after generations of forced assimilation. Every year we lose more of these stories and it's imperative for future generations that we preserve our rich history and the struggles that came from relocation and the residential boarding school experiences.
By donating to this project you will be supporting the important Native tradition of storytelling. Much like the movement the Littleton Twelve organized 43 years ago, this documentary is a labor of love, a grassroots effort to tell an important part of Colorado and national Native American history that will soon be forgotten if we do not protect it.The Native American Civil Rights movement is a little covered subject.
A complex story with many direct actions taking place across the country during the 70's. This project will film a large bulk of the activists, journalists and attorneys involved in the beginning of Indian Civil Rights in Denver many of whom will be in Denver to celebrate the Denver March Powwow.
We will begin by producing a short teaser with so far 9 confirmed key players in the movement who are eager to share their stories to raise enough money to travel this summer and document players in the movement across the country who were not able to make it to Denver for the group filming. Any money not used towards production in Denver will be added to the larger bank to finish the second half of the project. We are hoping to have a final cut of the documentary ready to be released on the 44th anniversary of the Freeman V. Morton decision by the Supreme Court in the Spring of 2017.
Below is an article that briefly talks about one of the first direct actions used in pushing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to adopt Indian preference in their hiring, training, and promotions.
"March 12 marks the 44th Anniversary of an important part of the Indian Civil Rights Movement, when 12 Indian employees at the Bureau of Indians Affairs’ Plant Management Engineering Center filed a formal complaint against the bureau stating discriminatory practices in training, hiring and promotions, and misusing government funds meant for Indians. The group formally filed complaints against the BIA with Edward. E. Shelton, the Director of Interior Department’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, and BIA commissioner Louis R. Bruce. “It was called the country clubs of BIA’s, everyone knew in the office that they were enjoying Colorado on the BIA’s dime.” one activist said of the misuse of funds at the BIA office. “Instead of improving the structure at the office after our protests, they shut it down.” The group, who would be later called the Littleton Twelve, consisted of Indians from a variety of tribes, many of whom had been brought to Denver during the Indian Relocation Act. Vaughn Arkie, Phyllis Culbertson, Corrine Durmace Deal, Enola Freeman, Toni Guerue, Robert Henderson, Ellen Hickman, Fray Laforge, Katherine Sherman, Carson Sine and Glenda Tom would spark a movement in Denver that utilized direct action and non-violent civil disobedience to secure Indian hiring preference at the BIA. The complaint gathered support from many other Indian activists who supported the Littleton Twelve, including activists who would later participate in strategic arrestable actions."
Risks and challenges
Time is of the essence filming this project as our elders pass on we are quickly losing these stories. The hope is to raise enough money to produce a short teaser to raise the rest of the money to finish the hour long film for release in Spring of 2017.
The anticipated budget to film the teaser and first round of interviews in Denver as well as spend time\needed to finish research in Denver at the Western History archives only located in the Denver Public Library.
$4,000 production costs and crew for Denver filming.
$1,000 Travel to Colorado.
$1,000 Money to buy rights to licensed photos needed to help tell the story.
More travel will be needed to finish all the interviews after the initial teaser is filmed in Denver.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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