ELCA Presents 'Native Nations' Documentary on ABC Television

10/8/2008 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- "Native Nations: Standing Together
for Civil Rights" is a one-hour documentary exploring the
role of the Lutheran church in the American Indian civil
rights movement of the 1970s and 1980s.  The program begins
airing Oct. 12 on ABC television network affiliate stations
across the United States.  Local stations may broadcast the
program at various times and dates through December 2008.
     Peter Coyote hosts "Native Nations," which B & B
Productions produced for the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America (ELCA).  The project was in development for 18
months on locations including Albuquerque, Minneapolis and
the Navajo Nation.
     "Native Nations" is "a historical documentary of the
Indian civil rights movement as viewed through the relationship
between the Indian people on and off the reservation and the
Lutheran churches," said Syd Beane, co-producer, Minneapolis.
It focuses on "the National Indian Lutheran Board and the
various issues, activism and organizing events that took place
over some 18 years," he said.  Beane was a member of the
National Indian Lutheran Board and served as its president.
     "We've got a lot of historical footage and pictures of
a lot of the people that were involved in those days," said
Frank Blythe, senior co-producer, Lincoln, Neb.  "We talked
with many of the actual participants who were involved in
tribal recognition and sovereignty issues.  It's part of the
story -- the Indian health issues that were ongoing at the
time of the '60s and '70s and the passage of the Indian
Health care act," he said.
     "We're at a time again when a lot of these issues are
emerging related to health care, related to environment,
related to land and water and energy.  These are all issues
we deal with in the film," Beane said.
     Michelle Danforth, director and co-writer, Green Bay,
Wis., said she has described the documentary to several
people who had similar reactions: "I didn't realize that
the Lutheran Church was so involved with the Indian civil
rights movement, and the impact that the Lutheran church
actually had on the whole movement."
     Beane, Blythe and Danforth are Native Americans.
     ELCA Multicultural Ministries worked with ELCA
Communication Services on the project.  Funds from the
ELCA Leadership Development Initiative paid the stipends
of four interns "whose tasks were to do archival research,
set up location sites and provide some camera work," said
Marilyn Sorenson, director, American Indian and Alaska
Native Ministries, ELCA Multicultural Ministries.  "Each
intern is a student in a related field or in the Native
Media and Technology Network."
     "Native Nations" is broadcast on ABC television stations
through the ELCA's relationships with the Interfaith Broadcast
Commission and the National Council of Churches, USA.  The
Odyssey Networks provided some funding.
     The ELCA Conference of Bishops previewed the documentary
Oct. 4 at its meeting here.  Introducing the program, the Rev.
Sherman G. Hicks, executive director, ELCA Multicultural
Ministries, said, "Truly, this has been a labor of love for
all those who have been involved in this project.  My hope
is that this documentary will educate us, and from that
education, the church and individuals will recommit to
justice and reconciliation with the American Indian and
Alaska Native community."
-- -- --
     Information about the television documentary, "Native
Nations: Standing Together for Civil Rights," B&B Productions
and how to purchase the program on DVD is at
http://www.ELCA.org/nativenations on the ELCA Web site.

     A video report of this story is at
http://archive.ELCA.org/news/video.html and audio of comments
by the Rev. Sherman G. Hicks is at http://archive.ELCA.org/audio/
on the ELCA Web site.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or news@elca.org
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog


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