There are 22 Native American tribes in New Mexico and on Thursday 2/19 at 7p, New Mexico PBS will air a documentary that weaves the voices of many women from these communities into one story.
Pamela Pierce is one of the producers of the film called A Thousand Voices. She told KUNM’s Elaine Baumgartel that the film grew out of conversations she had after completing another local film project on Pueblo sovereignty.
Pierce: Women came up to us and said, "Where’s our story? Why don’t you tell our story?” Because so many of the stories had been male driven. So when we looked back on why the story hadn’t been told, which we assumed it had, we found that most of the stories about Native American women come from a place of deficit. They come from a place of poverty, welfare, abuse. And no one had talked about the strength.
KUNM: The film features some stunning interviews with Native American women poets, jewelers, weavers, professors, tribal governors, lawmakers. How did you get so many people on board for this project and what was that like?
Pierce: We wanted a variety across New Mexico. So it was important that we have a lot of the pueblos, the Jicarilla Apache, the Mescalero Apache, the Navajo. And then we started looking for a variety within that. And when they started coming together, we started finding them, we’d hear about them, it was not difficult at all. They wanted to talk, it was very candid. It just seemed to come together.
KUNM: So your film production company, it’s called Silver Bullet Productions. Talk a little bit about how you approach film-making.
Pierce: The company was established as a non-profit educational company with education being the purpose and film being the vehicle, only. So film is not the purpose. It’s to change thinking, to change feelings, to shatter stereotypes. So we approach it that way. And we approach it knowing it will be used as an educational tool, as opposed to a film.
And we go into communities, we are guests in the community, to work with their students to teach them film-making and storytelling. They’re engaged in all these documentaries, they played a role in this documentary. Not only were students in it, but they create the curriculum for it. We want to make it a really easy tool to be used and understood. When it’s relevant, it has a lasting effect. There’s nothing more relevant than your own culture and your own voices coming together to create something.