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Through Native Lens, An Opportunity For DIY Storytelling In Public Media

Native Lens

At a time when stay-at-home orders lead to feelings of isolation from your community, a new DIY storytelling project based in the Four Corners hopes to connect and boost stories through public media.

Native Lens, a project launched this summer in collaboration with Rocky Mountain PBS and KSUT Tribal Radio, is taking a do-it-yourself approach in sharing stories from Native Americans and Indigenous people from around the world. 

“You don’t need filmmaking experience,” said Charine Gonzales, the project’s lead editor.

While the pandemic was at the forefront of developing the project, Gonzales says stories can be about any topic. And they can take any form, like poetry or animation.

Native Lens can also help with editing, so submitting your story takes just">a few steps:

  1. Grab something to record video, like a smartphone. Recording horizontally makes for a better image if your story makes it on TV.
  2. Include footage of the places that help tell your story, like around your home or your community. Make sure anyone in your video is okay with being recorded.
  3. Upload your submission to Native Lens here.

The launch of Native Lens comes as public media stations throughout the country address issues with diversity among its staff and retention of its employees of color. As a Native-led project also embracing accessibility for its participants, Gonzales recognizes the unique path Native Lens is taking.

“We’re starting to change the narrative of public media,” said Gonzales, of San Ildefonso Pueblo, who hopes to inspire a younger generation with the project. “I think we’re still a long way to go but I think Native Lens is a great step into that direction of that world of including more diverse voices.”

Hear KSJD’s full interview with Gonzales below.

Note: Rocky Mountain PBS is an underwriter of KSJD.