'More than That,' a video by Todd County students from the Rosebud Sioux reservation made in response to the 'Children of the Plains' documentary about Pine Ridge

Todd County High Schoolers Respond to 'Children of the Plains' With 'More Than That...'

ICTMN Staff
12/14/11

Students from Todd County High School, located on the Rosebud Sioux reservation, have made a video response to a recent television program about youth on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Titled "Hidden America: Children of the Plains," the show was a report by 20/20 for which Diane Sawyer visited Pine Ridge and reported inspiring stories of several young people living in dire conditions.

Indian Country's reaction to the program was mixed—while the reservation has problems that need attention, there was perhaps an element of voyeurism at work, what ICTMN columnist Rob Schmidt called "poverty porn." Is rez life really as it was portrayed on TV?

The Todd County High School students offer their own answer with this video: "More than that..."

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beaver's picture
beaver
Submitted by beaver on
I muted the volume and invited 16 college students to guess where these people are from after viewing a segment of the video. Typical responses: - inner-city Washington DC - Hispanic part of Texas - California Almost everyone mistook them to be Hispanic high school students. If this is a slice of kids on the Rosebud Sioux reservation, then those kids are WAY TOO AMERICANIZED. Be Indian rather than American!

beaver's picture
beaver
Submitted by beaver on
The video is great and I commend them for their effort. But the "vocal fry" at the end of their sentences also tells me the kids watch too much television and don't bother to speak their Sioux language. These kids are way too Americanized for my comfort.

deadwoodcat's picture
deadwoodcat
Submitted by deadwoodcat on
Poverty Porn? Really? That is awful. Pine Ridge is a very poor place and filled with so much bad history. How can anyone compare Rez life. I know so many people that saw the show and it opened up their eyes to the poverty on the Rez. Pine Ridge is a special place and the show wasn't about all reservations..its about Pine Ridge. Yes we saw the poverty but we also saw some great kids who had hope. I saw that those kids were "more then that". I just don't understand why this video was made. Because they didn't feature the Rosebud Sioux reservation? I feel like I am watching something that would be on one of those teenage white christen shows on cable tv.

deligoer's picture
deligoer
Submitted by deligoer on
Great video response! You make me proud!

deligoer's picture
deligoer
Submitted by deligoer on
When I lived in Asia I dressed similar to my neighbors, shopped with them, played with them. I was still who I am - multi-cultural!

beaver's picture
beaver
Submitted by beaver on
We don't want these Indian kids to be "multicultural" like you Diane - we want them to be 100% Indian. It was also disappointing for many to see that even on that awful 20/20 television show, one of the kids wanted to be America's president rather than a medicine man or a tribal chair and another kid wanted to be on "American Idol". Such American aspirations are what we detest. If I am being hard on the kids, it is only because I see them as our future. But I see "American" in the future and not Indian in their future.

n4tiv3's picture
n4tiv3
Submitted by n4tiv3 on
I find it somewhat amusing a Caucasian male using the name cat is criticizing native children’s own view of themselves and their attributes as individuals, a community and a people. What would he call it, “Identity porn”? Does he believe only white Christians are allowed to have the values the children portray?....... The television show and the video are about different perspectives of native people. One created for mass media distribution by an American Television company and the other by native children themselves. This is not algebra. The TV show averages 7 million viewers, the night of this particular show close to 5 million people watched or about 1% of the U.S. population. These images and perspectives go out to the world population in general, which will soon reach 7 billion people. Compared to the overall population only a very small percentage will actually watch this show. These images do not have Pine Ridge stamped on them nor does the perceptions or generalizations. The show doesn’t even have Pine Ridge in the title, which only leads people to assume....... The U.S. modeled its governing system after the native people’s way of life, by adopting the ideas into a constitution and a layered form of government. The attributes and values the native children display, are what developed that form of government. The values and attributes passed down from ancestors. Native people’s culture is shared and passed on for the values it gives to its people and humanity in general. It was not the system that made this land great. It was the values that developed the system that made this land great, even before Columbus set foot. It will be these values not the system that continue to make this land great. As you can see the American dream is crumbling. Without these values the system is nothing. This is what we could not show or give to the colonizers because, even now they continue on a path of consumption or as native people call it, greed. It is common sense; it’s like a cancer that eats away at the body until the body can no longer sustain itself and dies....... What is the real reason for criticizing the creation of the video?....... Does it not make cat feel superior enough, that these children can identify with having these values, that he thinks only white Christians can have? ....... Does it make him angry that they could be wrong and we are actually intelligent human beings and not the subhuman/animal without consciousness or soul less heathens they try to impress upon to the uninformed masses? ....... Or does it take too much power away from controlling society’s view of native people?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
So inspiring! I am impressed by the impact these young leaders have had on me through their creative response.

Elizabeth Albert-Peacock's picture
Elizabeth Alber...
Submitted by Elizabeth Alber... on
This is really what its all about, these kids are amazing! I hope you watch the video they produced in answer to Diane Sawyer's 20/20 Children of the Plains.
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