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Tonantzin, Our Mother

NATIVE LENS invites Native and Indigenous storytellers to share their stories

Rocky Mountain PBS and KSUT Tribal Radio proudly announce an invitation to Native and Indigenous storytellers of any age to share their own mini-documentaries with our collective audiences. In this new initiative called NATIVE LENS, you are the director and make the choice of where to focus your lens. The goal is that by distributing firsthand Native perspectives through the media, the visibility of tribal communities will increase as Native voices are amplified.

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On this page:

Colorado Health Foundation

How to Participate

Participating is easy:

  1. Read the call for stories and content guidelines.
  2. Grab your phone or camera and record your story.
  3. Complete the submission form and upload your work
  • Questions? Contact project coordinator Debbie Higgs at or call 970-235-8707 if you have questions or need filming or uploading support.

Watch Stories

Rejuvenation Round Dance

Organizer Dustin Beaulieu, a few colleagues and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Council began planning a Rejuvenation Round Dance, which had not been done in Flandreau in over 40 years.

Native Lens: Cheyenne Williams

College student Cheyenne Williams interviewed their grandmother about growing up Muscogee on the Navajo Nation and found more than they expected.

Native Lens: Trennie Collins

Much debate has occurred throughout 2020 surrounding a cartoonish statue known as “The Chief” in downtown Durango.

Native Lens: Ashley Nicole

Ashley Nicole is of Abiquiú heritage. Her film features her father, Antonio Garcia, a Genízaro from Abiquiú in northern NM.

Native Lens: Erik Sanchez

Artist Erik Sanchez is a Shoalwater Bay Indian from the mouth of the Columbian River in Tokeland, Washington. His film talks about life during coronavirus.

Native Lens: Cheyenne Williams (Voting PSA)

My name is Cheyenne Williams, I am Muscogee (Creek) and I am passionate about bringing awareness of voting to Native Americans and our cultures.

Rocky Mountain PBS

Native Lens: Newton Onco

Newton Onco honors the memory and love for his mother through storytelling.

Rocky Mountain PBS

Native Lens: Justine Teba (The Red Nation)

Justine Teba creates a visual collage to the voice of Cleo Otero, a leader in mutual aid efforts through The Red Nation (TRN).

Rocky Mountain PBS

Native Lens: Junior Robinson

Junior Robinson's NATIVE LENS film features a traditional dance group, Grupo Tlaloc Danza Azteca, based out of Denver, Colorado.

Native Lens: Andreita Gonzales

Caring for her garden and ducks, and hosting drive-through Feast Days are some of many ways Andreita honors her family and Pueblo through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Native Lens: Darrah Blackwater

A recent UA law school graduate discusses the digital divide and lack of broadband internet in rural Indigenous communities.

Native Lens: Tiara Collins

Visually telling what life has been like during the pandemic for one family on the Navajo Nation, a gratitude for traditional ways of life is celebrated.

Native Lens Team

Charine Gonzales

Lead Editor

Charine Gonzales is a student from San Ildefonso Pueblo and Santa Fe, NM. She currently attends Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) where she is obtaining her second degree, a BFA in Cinematic Arts & Technology. She is a Native Film Opportunity Fellow through the Sundance Institute Indigenous Program. She graduated in Spring 2017 from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO with a BA in English – Communication. She was a 2017 Full Circle Fellow through the Sundance Institute.

Sheila Nanaeto

Creative and Cultural Consultant

Sheila B. Nanaeto is a Southern Ute Tribal member from Ignacio, CO and current Station Manager of KSUT Tribal Radio. In the spring of 2000, she started as a weekly on-air volunteer hosting the Wednesday “Native Morning Show” – utilizing the airwaves as an outreach tool for her position as Environmental Specialist of the Southern Ute Tribe. In 2009, she was hired full time as the KSUT Administrative Director Intern through the TERO professional development program. Sheila currently provides oversight of all Tribal Radio activities and has provided input for media projects including as co-producer of “Native Braids” & Media Trainer for the Public Relations Department of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

Tanaya Winder

Engagement and Cultural Consultant

Tanaya Winder is a poet, vocalist, writer, educator, and motivational speaker from the Southern Ute, Duckwater Shoshone, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Nations. She received a BA in English from Stanford University and after completing her MFA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico, she co-founded As/Us: A Space for Women of the World, a literary magazine publishing works by Indigenous women and women of color. In 2015, she co-founded the Sing Our Rivers Red traveling earring exhibit to raise awareness about murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Her advocacy also includes working with Native youth and reservation communities as the Director of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Upward Bound program, which serves approximately 103 Native youth from across the country. She is a 2016 National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development “40 Under 40” list of emerging American Indian leaders recipient and a 2017 First Peoples Fund Artists in Business Leadership fellows. Her debut poetry collection Words Like Love was published in 2015 and her chapbook Why Storms are Named After People and Bullets Remain Nameless was released in 2017. She believes in creating the spaces that are needed in this world and so she founded an Indigenous artists management company and collective called Dream Warriors, where they can uplift and empower others. Learn more about her work at and on YouTube.

Debbie Higgs

Project Manager, Engagement Specialist

Debbie Higgs is the Community Engagement Specialist for Rocky Mountain PBS’s Bliss Bruen Regional Innovation Center at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Debbie has a Masters in Public Health from New Mexico State University with a focus on Southwest Border Health, and Community Health Promotion. She is the Interim President of Southwest Center for Independence (SWCI)’s Board of Directors; an active member of the Four Corners Mutual Aid Network; and a new member of Colorado Public Health Association (CPHA)’s Health Equity Coalition. Debbie has lived in the Four Corners area since 2008, minus a couple of years spent in Baltimore, MD, where she assisted Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country to recruit and train VISTA volunteers to serve on Native lands. She has 10 years of experience as an educator and mentor working with empowerment organizations including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Arts & Leadership program, the Boys & Girls Club of Farmington, Camp Dartmouth-Hitchcock (serving youth with inflammatory diseases), and the Volunteers of American Southwest Safehouse. She also has training as a Community Health Worker, a Reiki Master, and a teacher of therapeutic yoga and movement.

Carol Fleisher

Senior Producer, Creative Lead

Carol L. Fleisher is a Senior Producer and Regional Producer for Rocky Mountain PBS. She has spent the last forty years making documentaries for television. She has produced for every major broadcast and cable network including PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, and NBC. As a member of the Colorado Experience team, Carol hopes to use her documentary skills and passion for storytelling to preserve and celebrate Colorado’s rich history. Recent productions for RMPBS include Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Duranium, and Press of the West.

Tami Graham

Project Manager, Creative Lead

Tami Graham has been the Executive Director of KSUT Public Radio since 2016. Tami has lived in the Durango area since 1984. She was awarded the honor of “Woman of the Year” by Fort Lewis College in 1996 as a result of her leadership as the station manager for KDUR-FM.

Her production company, Tami Graham Presents, LLC, has presented dozens of nationally touring performers to Southwest Colorado. Tami is a non-profit consultant and has had an active mediation, training and facilitation practice in Southwestern Colorado since 2001.

Colorado Health Foundation

About Native Lens

Inviting Native and Indigenous stories to be seen and heard.

Imagining the Four Corners as a vibrant media landscape prominently featuring Indigenous narratives. Creating a regional, multimedia consortium of media organizations with the capacity to produce content on the Four Corners for a regional and national audience.


Rocky Mountain PBS
Native Lens is led by Rocky Mountain PBS’ (RMPBS) Regional Innovation Center in Durango, Colorado, based in the Ballantine Media Center at Fort Lewis College. The project supports RMPBS’ mission to ensure all Coloradans’ stories are seen and heard.

KSUT Tribal Radio
KSUT Tribal Radio was started in 1976 as a communication tool for the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council to provide information to Tribal members. Today it’s a source of Native music, news, cultural programming and local tribal information. KSUT is an NPR affiliate station.


The Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation believes health is a basic human right. We know that stories can help illustrate the far-reaching impact of health disparities and storytelling can play a unique role in advancing conversations about health equity. Learn more at

Fort Lewis College
Because of its unique origins as a military fort turned Indian boarding school turned state public school, Fort Lewis College and the State of Colorado provide a tuition waiver for qualified Native American students. Over 170 Native American tribes and Alaska Native villages are represented among FLC’s Indigenous students.

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