By Melinda Munson

Skagway Traditional Council board members were excited when Sara Kinjo-Hischer, tribal administrator, announced Vision Maker Media’s First Indigenous Online Film Festival from Aug. 31 to Oct. 5.

‘For educational purposes, I think it’s huge, said Jaime Bricker, STC president. “This hopefully extends the reach.”

The virtual festival will air over 30 films ranging from documentaries to animated features. The festival is free with registration. Films will be released weekly stating Aug. 31 at 8 a.m.

There are five genre categories. Each category is available for seven days before being replaced with new material. 

“Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible” was recently added to the line-up. The documentary focuses on a boxing club for Native girls in Montana, where according to the Sovereign Bodies Institute, 100 indiginous women and girls were murdered or remain missing since Jan. 2018.

“There’s been so many murders and people getting hurt on the reservation. I’ve never heard of a cop solving a crime,” says one female elder.

“It’s really important for us to teach our daughters to defend themselves so that they don’t become a statistic,” adds another woman.

Vision Maker Media, founded 45 years ago, “empowers and engages Native people to share stories. We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.”

A local favorite, “Keep Talking” or “Niugaa Yugaa,” is not in this year’s film festival but can be viewed at The film focuses on four women fighting to save the Kodiak Alutiiq language, spoken fluently by less than 40 elders.

“You know how the elders were abused when they spoke, it still goes on for some people and I’m one of them,” 13-year-old Sadie tells the camera.

“I’m glad I’m learning,” she says, between sobs.

Bricker is looking forward to the five week celebration which promotes American Indian, Alaska Native and worldwide indiginous films. 

“I appreciate the Skagway Traditional Council staff for constantly looking for new and fun ways to educate people,” Bricker said.

Register, watch trailers and view the film schedule at: