Unlocking Silent Histories

Youth generous donations make it possible for us to continue inspiring Indigenous youth to create documentary films that capture and illuminate their cultures, languages, and customs. All donations directly support program activities. We use funds to buy computers, cameras, and sound equipment and stipends, travel, and workshop expenses?.

ABOUT US

Welcome to Unlocking Silent Histories, a youth-led, youth-envisioned model designed to honor Indigenous knowledge and traditions by immediately including youth in defining what and how they learn as well as what films they will create. Burgeoning young filmmakers, ages 10 – 18, explore themes that they identify as important to their communities and our future, direct their own video investigations, and produce their own stories in the form of short films. This is achieved through a critical media literacy, technology, and leadership curriculum toolkit, that develops youths’ analytical, technical, and leadership skills. Join us on our journey to break educational, filmming, and leadership boundaries listening to the voices of youth.

MISSION

Through an engaged critical and creative process, we inspire Indigenous youth to create documentary films that capture and illuminate their cultures, languages, and customs.

PRODUCTIONS

Young producers participating in the Unlocking Silent Histories program lead the process, deciding which traditions and heritages to preserve and which methods are best to apply.

GET INVOLVED

There are many ways for you to take action through collaborating with us, hosting and attending events, or investing in the voices of Indigenous youth.

LEADERSHIP

We believe that leadership starts from within. We hire local program leaders and mentors to actively contirbute to our vision and practices. Meet our leadership teams.

MISSION

Through an engaged critical and creative process, Unlocking Silent Histories inspires Indigenous youth to create documentary films that capture and illuminate their cultures, languages, and customs. The voices of the youth lead the process, deciding which traditions and heritages to preserve and which methods are best to apply. Our goal is to collaboratively foster a learning and leadership model for younger generations as well as create business ideas that support their communities.

UNCOVERING HISTORIES
Program leaders facilitate critical education inspiring youth to analyze how indigenous cultures and histories are represented in the media and how those depictions shape their present lives. Using this critical eye, participants illuminate topics they deem important to investigate and uncover, framing the work through the lens of their own experiences.

PRESERVING LANGUAGES
Filmmakers participating in Unlocking Silent Histories engage with peers and community experts to capture local knowledges and traditions. Interviews are primarily conducted in their own languages, and later translated into Spanish and English. Through these interviews, the youth are able to identify emerging themes and story concepts that are expressed in their documentaries.

FOSTERING DIALOGUE
Youth share their films with peers before presenting them to local, national, and international audiences in an effort to foster conversations that heighten awareness of the similarities among and across cultures and to impel individual and collective agency to leverage social change.

VISION

We envision a future where Indigenous youth leaders around the world inspire teams of young people to capture, revive, and reinvigorate their cultures, traditions, and languages through creating and discussing documentary films.

We imagine these Indigenous youth leaders making social impacts, locally and globally by sharing their films across generational and geographical boundaries.

Listen to their visions!

FOCUS

WHAT WE DO

INDIGENOUS MEDIA PRODUCERS

Participating youth are using media to discover their cultures, traditions, and knowledges first hand within their communities, a learning model aimed to overcome the indigenous vs non-indigenous education gap.

  • Non-Indigenous students receive 3.4 years more schooling than Indigenous students
  • 51.4% school drop-out of indigenous students
  • 14:8 ratio of Indigenous vs. non-Indigenous people who are working without an education
  • 53.5% : 32.2% ratio of indigenous vs. non-Indigenous youth aged 15-19 who do not complete primary education

INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

We cultivate communities of Indigenous youth leaders who harness the power of media to bring awareness to important cultural traditions and social issues in order to address the following statistics:

  • 24:14 ratio of Indigenous youth who are working vs. attending school
  • 2:1 ratio of non-indigenous vs. indigenous wages
  • 25-50 % of the income gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous people is cited as “due to discrimination and non-observable characteristics, such as quality of schooling”
  • Indigenous people make up 5% of the world’s population and 15% of the world’s population living in poverty

WHY INDIGENOUS YOUTH

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WHERE WE WORK

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