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National Geographic All Roads Film Project forms partnerships for American Indian Summer Institute

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WASHINGTON – The National Geographic All Roads Film Project, Native Media and Technology Network, Indigenous Language Institute, Fox Entertainment Group, Naninaaq Productions and Community Prophets, Australia, are partnering to develop a series of professional workshops and training opportunities for Native students at the eighth annual American Indian Summer Institute. The first partnership training will take place July 12 – 18, at the University of California, Los Angeles, campus. Participants will be accepted via nomination from the member organizations.

AISI was founded in 2002 with the guidance of Southern California Indian Center, which was instrumental in the recruitment and participation of the Southern California tribes. In addition, NMTN joined Fox to help orchestrate a national outreach effort, drawing participants from across the United States.

“Our affiliation with All Roads and National Geographic Society has provided the training program to go global,” said Gerald Alcantar, vice president of diversity development at Fox.

“This focus on a global indigenous collaboration to increase Native American and indigenous peoples’ access and participation in the media and entertainment industry can only expand media-related employment and business opportunities for under-represented communities,” said Syd Beane, Flandreau Santee Sioux tribal member and national coordinator of NMTN.

According to UNESCO’s “Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger,” more than 2,500 languages are in danger of dying – with the United States ranking second only to India with the highest number of diminishing languages. This new partnership aims to address the problem by giving American Indian students nationwide an opportunity to explore and experience media incorporating their native languages, train them in mixed media with new global indigenous perspectives and provide a global platform of opportunities to showcase their work.

“Like ILI, National Geographic is concerned with the urgency to record diminishing languages and the need to assist communities worldwide in the documentation process of these languages, in order to have them accessible to younger generations to revitalize. Currently in its sixth year, the All Roads Film Project has the global platforms and resources to bring cultural exchanges of creative storytelling in film and media to the American Indian Summer Institute,” said Francene Blythe, of Diné, Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota and Eastern Band Cherokee heritage and director of the National Geographic All Roads Film Project. “This partnership will bring together five dynamic organizations that can pool their resources to broaden the reach of indigenous voices from Native America and bring them out to the world.”

“Indigenous Language Institute is excited about the positive impact that our partnership can achieve for Native peoples in revitalizing culture and language,” said Inée Slaughter, executive director of ILI. “By providing indigenous people training in ILI’s technology tools to document their languages, history, stories and songs and to create vibrant language materials, we can ensure that the endangered languages will have a deservedly distinguished presence and permanence in the global community.”

AISI will feature Native American and international indigenous industry luminaries, who will examine creative storytelling through media, provide a cultural exchange of indigenous perspectives on story, community and self-identity, and provide mentoring on technical aspects of mixed media. Additional workshops are planned for 2010.

A showcase of All Roads international films will wrap up the week’s training Saturday, July 18, at the James Bridges Theatre at the University of California, Los Angeles, campus. A full screening schedule and tickets are available online.