May 6, 2016


Vision Maker Media Announces 
Funding Support for Two Election Projects

Lincoln, Nebraska: Vision Maker Media is pleased to announce support for two new projects that will provide deeper understanding of the upcoming national election as it relates to Native American issues. These projects are designed to provide online and offline PBS viewers the opportunity to consider issues related to Indigenous people and to further discussion about these issues. Both projects have the potential for streaming and national broadcast on PBS, will be accessible to a broad audience and will be used for effective outreach/community engagement activities.
"The goal of the Election Coverage Project is to increase the diversity of voices available to PBS viewers in discussing issues related to Indigenous people. The rights, needs and hopes of Native people are often missing from campaign dialogue," said Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux), executive director of Vision Maker Media.
The Vision Maker Media Election Coverage Project recipients are:
New Mexico PBS/KNME: Elections 2016: Voting for Future Generations will feature Antonia Gonzalez of the National Native News as the correspondent and co-producer for the four five-minute mini-documentaries. They will feature emerging Native leaders who share why the 2016 elections are important for their personal and professional lives. Local leaders will speak about issues and concerns in four areas: education, economic development, environment and the justice system.
The series focuses on why these issues are crucial today and how they will help shape the experiences of future generations of Native youth. The videos will provide thoughtful context for why participation in elections is important, as well as highlights of ongoing efforts to improve the lives of young people in Native communities in New Mexico and the Southwest. Each of the segments will explore why these issues are important when Native and non-Native voters cast a ballot later this year.
Series producer, Sarah Gustavus, has nearly a decade of experience in public media. She currently produces New Mexico PBS/KNME's weekly public affairs program New Mexico in Focus. She has extensively covered politics and elections, public policy, health, urban development and immigration for public radio stations in Washington State and New Mexico. Her work has aired nationally on programs like All Things Considered, Latino USA, Weekend America, Making Contact, Tell Me More, the NPR newscast and various documentary specials. Before joining New Mexico PBS, she was the executive producer of national programs for Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, where she oversaw production of Native America Calling, National Native News and Earthsongs. Sarah earned a master's in media and communication from City University London and a bachelor's in communication studies from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Antonia Gonzalez (Navajo)

Sarah Gustavus

MIGIZI Communications:
Elections 2016 will feature a series of six five-minute videos that will address the absence of American Indian issues on the campaign trail. Young American Indian high school students, who participate in the MIGIZI Communications Summer Media Institute as part of the New Media Pathways youth development program, will work with producers on the series.
Each video will explore a different topic that producers believe should be included as central themes of the debate. These themes may include: education, employment, child welfare, elder care, climate change, economic equality and safety.
Series producers include Tiana LaPointe (Sicangu Lakota) and John Gwinn. LaPointe is an accomplished teacher and media artist. She was the 2016 Knight Fellow at the Sundance Native Labs. Gwinn has taught youth media programs for more than 20 years and has a Peabody Award for his work with the Listen UP! Beyond Borders Project.
Bobby Wilson (Dakota) will appear as co-writer, interviewer, talent coach and actor. As a member of the acclaimed comedy troupe the 1491s, Wilson has appeared in many of the group's popular video sketches. He is an accomplished spoken word artist, visual artist, actor and writer.

Over its 38-year history, MIGIZI has trained journalists, produced one of the first nationally distributed Indian news magazines in the country, and placed the powerful tools of media and communication in the hands of at-risk American Indian youth with the goals of enhancing their self-esteem and improving their academic performance.

Tiana LaPointe
Bobby Wilson (Dakota)

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media's Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community. Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to tell stories.
We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media is your premier source for quality American Indian and Alaska Native educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media--to be the next generation of storytellers. 

Contact: Susan Hartmann * (402) 472-8607,