Native American Veterans: Storytelling for Healing

May 3rd, 2015 | By | Category: Media Reviews, Online media reviews, Web Exclusive
By Jurgita Antoine

Native-American-VeteransAdministration for Native Americans (2012)
34 minutes

Review by Jurgita Antoine

In the old days, when Lakota men came of age, they went on zuya—a warpath, which was commonly understood as an educational journey to maturity and adulthood. Although times have changed and methods of warfare have become more sophisticated, the tradition continues today. As a result, Native Americans have the highest record of military service per capita of all U.S. ethnic groups.

Native American Veterans: Storytelling for Healing is one of the resources provided by the Administration for Native Americans. It is a documentary that consists of nine individual accounts of veterans from different Indigenous groups such as Native Hawaiian, Pueblo of Zuni, Comanche, and Lakota. The accounts range from World War II and Vietnam to the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Although the stories describe a variety of experiences in the service, most of all they focus on what helped the soldiers survive. Spiritual connections, new and re-created relationships with people, families, as well as their cultures and traditions are at the center of these moving narratives of persistence and hope. These modern stories of one’s journey and survival will not only continue to educate the new generations and encourage them through difficult times, but are also intended to serve as support and healing for Native veterans.

Produced in a workshop facilitated by the Center for Digital Storytelling, this DVD will hopefully encourage students at tribal colleges to create their own digital stories. By documenting the experiences of veterans of their tribes, such videos can be used for education and healing.

Jurgita Antoine, Ph.D., is project director of Lakota Documentaries at Sinte Gleska University.

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