Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo) understands her work to be a voice for her ancestors to foster deeper understanding and to cultivate positive change. While based in part on traditional cultural ways and ideas, her work also addresses themes of loss in relation to larger cultural forces and the rebirth process of healing and redefinition of cultural identity. Many of Missy’s short films incorporate, Indigenous languages, teachings and values and have screened for audiences ranging from, intertribal to local urban venues like The Walker Art Center to national venues such as National Geographic All Roads Festival. Currently she is a recipient of The Sundance Native Lab fellowship and Jerome Fellowship for her short film project (Coyote Way: Going Back Home).
Rooted in the arts at an early age, Missy was raised in an artistic home and her biggest influence being her father Ernest Whiteman, who taught her how to envision the world as an artist. Missy Whiteman’s upbringing in Minneapolis, Minnesota gave her the opportunity to learn and grow in her artistic abilities because of her relationships with Native artists and filmmakers of various social and ethnic backgrounds. Missy continued her pursuit of the arts when she attended the Minnesota Center for Arts education where her artistic and healing creative process were first developed. She later attended the Minneapolis College for Art and Design for Filmmaking and photography where she continued developed her skills as a media artist and filmmaker.
Today, as well as being a filmmaker Missy is also a film and media consultant with Independent Indigenous Film and Media (IIFM). The production company’s mission, is to help educate, empower media self sufficiency by providing digital media production, video training and visibility for communities, organizations and youth. With the guidance of experienced media producers like Missy, the final product is a collective vision as well as a transformative and healing process.