Tiana LaPointe

My name is Tiana LaPointe. I’m a fifteen-year old Lakota from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. In 2003, I began work on a video documentary entitled Keepers of the Stronghold Dream. It is a documentary about the Lakota people’s fight to protect sacred burial sites on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The video also explains the history related to a virtually unknown massacre on what is now known as the Badlands. During this massacre, the Oglala, Lakota, Peyote and other groups of Native Americans were thrown into ravines, persecuted, and murdered for practicing the Ghost Dance that they used to pray for a new and better life.

Since I began making videos, I have learned that no matter who you are or what you are interested in, you do have something to say. If you work hard at it, you can show people what you believe is important in the world. This can give people a different perspective on those things that are most important to you. I believe it is easier to help people understand you when you use video to tell your story. I also believe that you don’t have to be the most creative person in the world to produce amazing artwork-- you just need to be knowledgeable and believe in what you have to say.

Since becoming a teaching artist, my artwork has changed because I have had a chance to use more technologically advanced cameras and tripods. I also learned that you remember 90% of what you teach and 40% of what you are taught. By teaching others, I have become a stronger artist and student. I know how to say what I want people to understand and have a way to say it.

I see my self as a filmmaker and a mentor to others. My role as an In Progress Intern is to submit artist’s videos to upcoming festivals, to coordinate video screenings of young artist’s work and to lead the planning for a youth Indigenous Storytelling Gathering. I also am open to any creative opportunities that might come my way. I am willing to learn as much as I can from others.