This happened to me a month ago and I just thought I would share this experience with everyone.
In my history class we were talking about the genocide and the holocaust of the Jewish people and the genocide in Vietnam and the Rwanda genocide. My teacher was talking about all these things and I thought that he was for sure going to mention what happened here in America, but he didn’t. After class I went up to him and I recommend watching the movie Older Than America that explained the small part of what happened to Native people, I told him it was about the cultural genocide of Native American people and that we lost over millions of people, more than the Holocaust in Germany. What he said to me was really astonishing, “Well it wasn’t really a genocide. What happened in Germany was a genocide, they (Jewish People) had no way to fight back. Here in America the Indians fought back, and when they lost they were moved to reservations. Only, probably a million or two, died during the expansion of the west.” In my mind I was speechless. I simply replied, “Well I still recommend that you watch this movie.” he smiled and said, “Absolutely.” I said my good-bye and walked away from the classroom feeling sad, angry, and very upset. I was so upset that when I tried talking to my little brother about it, I started crying. I was asking my brother “How could it not be a genocide?! There were over 20 million of us here before the colonist came, and by 1970 there were 260,000. Where did they go? They didn’t move to Hawaii or any other place, they were gone, killed, how do you not call that genocide?”
I hope that everyone could have an open mind and try to learn the real history of how this great nation was made and what it was founded upon.
How did you cope with making a movie with so much history and meaning behind it?
What kind of content might be addressed in films you will be making in the future?
And thank you for putting the subject of Boarding Schools out there! It was portrayed in the best way so that people who may not understand the concept previously could.
1. Was there a lot of pressure when making this movie?
2. What inspired you to start making movies?
3. Have you ever had any bad experiences for being native american?
Today was pretty good! Last night we were playing around in Native Narnia and having a blast. Later in the day we had 2 classes. One was meeting some students from San Manuel (sorry if I spell it wrong :( ) and we played a game together and had a sort of writing exercise. our next class we had a guest speaker, his name was Deron Marquez, and he talked a lot about sovereignty……i was really confused, but i learned a lot at the same time :D. and now i am blogging haha.
Oh, and since the actress/director, Georgina Lighting, wasn’t able to come but is able to view our blog, i have some questions for her!
First, How did you get into the acting career ?
Second, Did you always wanted to be an actress/director?
And Third, Do you have any pets?
when i saw this movie it reminded me about my papa (great grandfather) because i remember him telling me he was forced to go to Sherman in his teen years, and it was a struggle to stay alive. he doesn’t really like to talk about it but when he does he only talks about how he was treated. he would tell me that he was spit on, slapped, and was always called names. but he said no matter how hard they tried they never broke him and he never gave in. the biggest struggle that him and his family had was food. (this is my favorite story) when him and his brother were kids they would go into the watermelon patch and lay flat as they can and eat watermelons. but the people who grew the watermelons had shotguns and would shoot any one who would trespass. so once they here the gun click they would shove watermelons down their shirts and run smiling till the people stopped tracing them. the same with cows, at night they would go into a farm and just take a cow and have it for dinner the next night. and to think he risked his life just to eat. my papa is still alive he is about 79yrs old and i hope to get more stories from him because even if they bring bad memories he would still laugh and say “damn i was crazy, i don’t know how I’m still alive” and it would make me laugh because hearing the stories he was crazy. there’s this one story where him and his brother tried to fly a cardboard box airplane off a 2story house with them sitting in it. my papa is a very interesting man and is the best story teller.
One of these experiences here at Pitzer College is the movie that we saw yesterday was called “Older than America” that was a pretty intense film! Made by a young Native American named Georgina Lightning. The film touched me…. and… the boarding school they built for the Native Americans…. was horrific! I cried! It made me sad of what these Europeans did to our family members, I mean it was just… in the 1970s and that, to me, was not too long ago. I am proud to be Native Hawaiian and Native American. And I am happy to be here. This is amazing for me. I’mma sure that you’ll enjoy and experience here at Pitzer College and learn ’bout the Native American culture and experience the culture! Learn more ’bout yourself! Learn more ’bout your ancestors and what they did and have been through. Be proud of you and your culture. Be who you really are.
For more information about the movie visit the website.
-Jana Lyn Chang
I was really touched with this movie and i also learned a lot about how boarding schools were back 60+ years ago. this is a great movie, i think, for history classes covering this time in america because no one has really heard of this incident. it has a considerable impact on people ,especially native american people.