Native American Teens: Who We Are

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More About The Teens

Litefoot, Co-host
Litefoot, an award-winning rap artist and actor, co-hosts "Native American Teens: Who We Are." Litefoot is a member of the Cherokee nation and the spokesperson for the Association for American Indian Development and its Reach the Rez Project (www.reachtherez.org). Reach the Rez is a nationwide concert and speaking tour targeting Native American youth. Litefoot is also the CEO of Native Style, Inc., and the host of the Reach the Rez Radio Show, a nationwide hip hop/talk show distributed through American Indian Radio on Satellite. (www.airos.org)

Flute Player Hovia Edwards
Hovia, a featured teen in the program, is a Shoshone-Bannock flute player from Fort Hall, Idaho. Her name "Hovia" is the Shoshone word for song. When Hovia was three years old, she started learning how to play the Native American flute from her father Herman, a flute player and flute maker. Later, she spent time studying with the award-winning Native American flute player Robert "Tree" Cody. Hovia plays both traditional songs and her own compositions. When she was 14, she made her first professional recording for Canyon Records, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Hovia played at the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Olympics in Utah and on the soundtrack for "Skinwalkers," a PBS Masterpiece Theater film. In addition to recording and performing, Hovia also gives talks to school and community groups about the history of the Native American flute. She was also one of the teens featured in the PBS documentary Soundmix: Five Young Musicians. (www.fiveyoungmusicians.com)

The Birth of Lacrosse
Kori Halftown is the 15-year-old Seneca lacrosse player profiled in the program. Since he was three, Kori's been playing lacrosse, a sport that's been part of Native American culture for more than 500 years. Here are some little-known facts about its history:

  • The game, like the stick itself, was developed by North American Indians as early as the 15th century. Indians played the game not only for recreation, but also to settle tribal disputes and to toughen warriors for fighting.
  • Games were played by as few as 100 and as many as 1,000 men and lasted two or three days, with play beginning at sunup and ending at sundown each day. Goals, consisting of rocks or trees, were generally 500 yards to a half-mile apart, but could be several miles apart. There were no sidelines, and players raced far and wide over the countryside.
  • White men -- Jesuit missionaries from France -- first encountered the game in the 17th century. They wrote home about a game played by the Huron Indians with sticks reminiscent of the crosier (la Crosse) carried by bishops as a symbol of their office.

Teen Filmmakers

  • Native American teens from Washington State produced the three short films in the program I am a Storyteller, Res Life, and Reflections. The teens are part of the Native Lens program, a project of LONGHOUSE MEDIA. (www.swinomish.org/native_lens/home.html)
  • Teens in Anchorage, Alaska from the Mediak Program produced the segment on the Native American Youth Olympics that closes the program. (www.citci.com/index.aspx?pageID=34)

The Chiefs
This excerpt is from a feature film about Wyoming Indian High's champion basketball team. Courtesy of Dewey-Obenchain Films, Just Media. (www.pbs.org/independentlens/chiefs/)

Native Youth Olympics
Each year since 1972, hundreds of Alaskan youth have come together in Anchorage, Alaska to participate in the unique games of the Native American Youth Olympics. The games, which include events like the "Stick Pull," the "Seal Hop," and the "One Legged Reach" are based on games and life skills of past generations of Alaska Natives. The games were originally played as a way to test hunting and survival skills, and to increase strength, endurance, agility, and the balance of mind and body. (www.anchorage.net/764.cfm)