Voices Through Media / by Thomas Lopez

by Micaela Iron Shell-Dominguez

The IIYC held our first Voices Through Media training in collaboration with Awake Media at HEAL Denver in April. The Voices Through Media training was created as a platform for Indigenous Youth to authentically tell their stories and to learn new techniques and methods to do so. “Native Americans,” have been depicted as drunks or savages. Cartoons such as Disney’s Pocahontas or Johnny Depp’s version of Tonto have molded the worlds idea of who we are? If we cannot tell our own story then we will never been seen for the empowered people we are. We all have our story, and what better way to tell these stories than with our very own voice?

Our Visions

During the training, we decided to make two short videos. The first video focused on self love, which you can watch below. After working with our youth, they felt that self love was one of the most important things to address in today’s society. They felt like people are having a hard time loving themselves, therefore they have a hard time loving the people around them. I the video we spoke about what self love means to us and how we choose to love ourselves.

The second video we decided to make addressed the issue of immigration. We wanted to make something that showed different aspects of immigration and show a human side of the people whom some call "illegal aliens." Many of our youth members have dealt directly with immigration in some form or another and we want to speak true to this voice, especially as the International Indigenous Youth Council. We feel it is important to re-educate our people and help them understand that our Indigenous Sisters and Brothers to the South are just as much Indigenous to Turtle Island as we are.

How We Did It

Each one of us took turns recording each other in different places and from different angles. This work consisted of understanding placement of the camera, how to set up filming space, camera settings, as well as lighting and shadows. We also went out and gathered b-roll of our neighborhood. We got to spend some time with Myron Dewy, who taught us about drone operation. After making a plan and executing our it, we sat down and began editing the footage that we wanted to include. Once we were done editing, we took our footage into post-production and began sewing it all together with Adobe Premiere Pro. It was challenging to keep our videos under two minutes, but we wanted to keep things short and simple so our viewers had an easy time following. Once we finished editing we uploaded the videos to our Facebook and Youtube channels for everyone to see. 

Self Love


What We Learned

We learned the importance of establishing and using our voices. We learned that we must use our ancestral knowledge of story telling and our modern knowledge of technology to tell out stories. Although many of these tools have been given to us by our colonizers, we cannot allow these details to stop us from moving forward. We have tools in front of us and we need to learn to use them. We had so much fun doing this workshop, we made new friends and established some really awesome intergenerational relationships. Each person in this group got to say something, and each person was included in the making of these videos. This goes the same for anywhere. Each person has a voice, and each person has the ability to use that voice. Not only must we use all the tools we have, we must also include everyone in the learning process so we can make our voices heard through media.