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Sherman Indian High School has a new representative

Terria Smith

A confident young woman from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of Fort Yates, North Dakota is the new titleholder of 2015-16 Miss Sherman. Seventeen-year-old Mika Zephier was crowned in the Robert Levi Auditorium at Sherman Indian High School on Friday, April 17.

Seven contestants participated this year, representing tribes from across the country. Each of them performed a speech, made a cultural presentation and modeled traditional regalia.

Zephier is a junior who is a member of the National Honor Society and has played Junior Varsity Volleyball at the all-Native American high school in Riverside, Calif. During her cultural presentation, she shared a story about how her tribe received its name as well as a a traditional lullaby.

Stay tuned in to FNX | First Nations Experience television network for the full story in an upcoming segment of "FNX NOW."

A Night to Remember

Jacque Nunez

On Saturday January 31, 2015, two FNX Interns made their way to Four Directions Education’s biggest event of the year. The Honoring Traditions Gala filled the night with blessings, Pala Bird Signers, Fancy Dances and a silent auction; the highlight of the night, awarding Saginaw Grant with a Humanitarian Award. No expense was spared at the venue of El Adobe Restaurant, a California State Historical Landmark in the heart of San Juan Capistrano. The architectural elements of El Adobe artfully reflect the history of both building and location. A fitting place, I would say, for honoring such an extraordinary living legend.

About 80 guests entered the Palenque room with an adjoining Garden-Chapel and Veranda. Pictures and Videos casted on the walls highlighted scenes of the countless movies and shows featuring Saginaw Grant. Some included bits of Lone Rangers, Breaking Bad, and War Party, proving Saginaw’s versatility and lifelong accomplishments.

Eddie Tahuka and I were eager to capture the event in a way that would give it the justice it deserved. Nervousness was mixed with excitement being our first solo mission for the station but as the night ended, we were feeling more and more and ease. Definitely a night to remember!

Submitted by: Robin Underwood, FNX Intern

FNX | First Nations Experience Television Network Receives $6 Million Gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Jeff McCumber, FNX Interim Art Director

FNX | First Nations Experience has received a second $6 Million gift of support from its Founding Partners, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. A special commemorative ceremony took place in honor of the gift renewal at KVCR studios on the San Bernardino Valley College campus on Monday, January 26, 2015.

General Manager, Alfredo Cruz, noted, “Gifts of this magnitude are extremely rare in public media and the fact that San Manuel is renewing their commitment with this second gift, is a massive vote of confidence in the exciting and innovative work that FNX is doing in public television.” Cruz added, “This will help take FNX to the next level, allowing the network to continue growing in both reach and content to make positive impacts on more communities throughout the country.”

“Since the idea for FNX was first broached in our early discussions, San Manuel has viewed the Native television channel as a key media platform for disseminating factual information about and for tribal nations and indigenous peoples around the world,” said San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “We are pleased with the progress that FNX has made during the initial development period and are excited about the opportunities the channel presents for Native storytellers, filmmakers, actors, musicians, artisans as well as other professional endeavors in television.”

Arising from a need for Native Americans to tell their own stories; to help preserve our culture, to promote awareness and appreciation for Native culture and history among the general public, FNX is the most exciting new development in communications today.

FNX is filling a media void by providing programming that is unavailable anywhere else. Telling the stories of Native people in their own words, FNX’s 24/7 programming is PBS-compliant and includes everything from feature and short films, to documentaries, drama, series, comedy, lifestyle (health/cooking/gardening), sports, cultural, news/public affairs, nature programs, animation, and children’s shows. All content strives to illustrate the rich diversity that exists within Native cultures and reflects a true voice of Native American and Indigenous people from around the globe.

Created as a “local content programming initiative” on KVCR’s digital tier, FNX was launched at KVCR-PBS through a partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in 2011. Since then, FNX has grown into a fulltime, self-contained, 24/7 turnkey, national public television network with affiliates broadcasting into 12 states. FNX is now available via satellite to stations and service providers throughout the U.S. over the Public Television Interconnect System.

In Southern California, FNX is can be seen over the air on KVCR’s Digital Ch. 24.2, on Direct TV Ch. 24-2, and on Verizon FiOS Ch. 471. In addition to the major metropolitan regions of Chicago and Los Angeles, FNX is currently carried by stations in Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, including several tribal reservation communities. Public stations and service providers interested in carrying FNX are encouraged to contact FNX for details.

Feeling Inspired: Meeting LaDonna Harris at the San Diego American Indian Film Festival

Courtesy of Robin Underwood

This past weekend I got to join FNX in attending the 2nd Annual San Diego American Indian Film Festival (SDAIFF). Many films were showcased during the night including, “Sycuan: Our People. Our Culture. Our History,” “Once We Had a River,” “Empire of Dirt” and "LaDonna Harris: Indian 101.” Long into the night, a huge screen captured the attention of all ages in the audience, the majority excitedly being Native youth.

During the event, I found myself so absorbed and moved by the film “LaDonna Harris: Indian 101.” I got to discover a Native woman of power in a time when prejudice was strongly held in the minds and hearts of the masses. LaDonna defied the odds and rose with her husband as he moved through the political spectrum, eventually becoming a U.S. Senator in Washington DC.

The film dug into LaDonna’s natural activist stance on many topics involving the Native community. She used her husband’s status to influence the minds of high-ranking officials that they were often around, throwing dinner parties where much of her humanitarian ideas were discussed. As a national leader, Harris influenced the agendas of world peace, environmentalism, feminism, and civil rights movements. She is a founding member of Common Cause and the National Urban Coalition and is, still to this day, a spokesperson against poverty and social injustice. She also made a new form of history, being the first Senator’s wife to testify before a Congressional committee.

During intermission, FNX had the opportunity to speak with LaDonna Harris, getting an interview in the process. She was just as loving and warm as she was portrayed as in the film. She made strangers feel as though they were long-time friends. Completely unaware of what my night would entail as I entered the SDAIFF, I left the festival fired up with ambition and enlightenment, even more driven to continue high education for the sake of future generations. Amazing film, amazing woman! I am looking forward to the next annual San Diego American Indian Film Festival and hope to see you all there!

Submitted by: Robin Underwood, FNX Intern

Watch the trailer for "LaDonna Harris: Indian 101" here:
LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 Trailer from San Diego Film Festival on Vimeo.

Spending Native American Heritage Month with FNX

Courtesy of Sherman Indian High School

FNX I First Nations Experience, as you can imagine, is very busy for the Month of November, Native American Heritage Month. It was quite a spectacle to witness those at the network stretch themselves to the dozens of different events taking place nearby. Somehow, this station accomplishes what seems to require the power of a hundred men with just a handful of people.

The most exciting event for me was being able to take part in FNX’s first ever live event "FNX Live: Satellite Launch Celebration," which aired November 3rd on KVCR, channel 24. The live event celebrated the network's nationwide launch, making the channel available to all who take interest. Watching the behind the scenes of television, especially for a live broadcast, makes you really appreciate the talent, synchronization and teamwork needed to insure quality for such a program.

FNX was also warmly welcomed by Sherman Indian High School, an all-Native American boarding school in the city of Riverside. Here, we reached out to Native youth with colleges from around the nation, hoping to inspire their minds and hearts. FNX got to mingle, get to know campus life and hear of the many individual inspirations ready to embark on their next life chapter.

Later in the month, FNX got to capture the 1st Annual Native Harmonies Native American Festival at the Scottish Rite Theater in Long Beach, California. During the rehearsal, many different types of instruments sounded throughout the elaborate theater, echoing off the high ceilings and rounded architecture. Mazes of hallways led to different dressing rooms full of various dressings, faces half painted, conversations in native tongues and spurts of drumming occasionally accompanied by the sounds of flutes. The music from the stage emitted through the building and the second story shook with the music’s vibration. All the while, we interviewed numerous performing artists in the corridors of the building and later captured more on the red carpet. Some of the performing artists included Rita Coolidge and Shelley Morningsong with various Aztec Dancers and Native American Dancers. I genuinely hope this Festival continues throughout the years, it was absolutely amazing!

The month is still not over and the FNX team is looking forward to The San Diego American Indian Film Festival (SDAIFF) which we will be attending this weekend. Come out and meet some of the FNX team. Hope to see you all there!

Submitted by: Robin Underwood, FNX Intern

FNX network receives recognition at Los Angeles City Hall

Courtesy of the City of Los Angeles

FNX | First Nations Experience was an invited guest during the 2014 City of Los Angeles Native American Indian Commission’s American Indian Heritage Month Celebration.

The event was sponsored by the Torres Martinez Tribal TANF social service program and took place on Friday, November 7.

The celebration opened with a presentation to the Los Angeles City Council, made by District 13 Councilman Mitch O’Farrell of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma. Leaders of the Gabrielino Tongva tribe offered a blessing. The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Birdsingers shared traditional songs and an intertribal group danced during the ceremony.

FNX received a certificate of recognition from the City of Los Angeles as well a plaque from the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians at the event. FNX has provided coverage on a number issues and events focusing on the Torres Martinez tribe. The network’s FNX NOW series has featured stories including the reservation’s schoolhouse restoration project as well as a special report about their challenges with water contamination. The environmental health ‘FNX NOW: Special Report from Torres Martinez’ segment was part of the 2013 USC Annenberg California Health Endowment Fellowship and it also received a 2014 National Native Media Award from the Native American Journalists Association.

Others honored during the celebration were Tracy Perez of Torres Martinez Tribal TANF, David Rambeau of United American Indian Involvement, Inc. as well as professional basketball champion and former power forward with the Los Angeles Lakers AC Green.