SPEAKER 1: My blood is deep in that soil. I believe firmly about blood memory.
JEFFREY PALMER: So I think my work really is examining Native American people in the 20th and 21st century. A lot of times, it's a historical examination. But because I'm an indigenous filmmaker, I try to bring the ancient into the present and sometimes into the future.
SPEAKER 2: There was a house made of dawn. It was made of pollen and of rain. And the land was very old but everlasting.
JEFFREY PALMER: So there's indigenous futurisms. But there's also going back into the ancient. And all of this becomes part, I think, of the journey of watching one of my films is that you could go back thousands of years and then also be into the future and also be part of the present. And that examination is really about bringing untold stories of Native people that have really never been part of the historical examination of America.
And so that history becomes really, really important now, today, to be able to preserve those stories, but also to think about how Native people have affected this country in positive ways.
SPEAKER 3: The boy, we don't know anything about him, you know, what happened to the bear. I think of myself as the reincarnation of that boy because of my name, Tsoai-talee, rock tree boy. So I have bear power. And I turn into a bear on occasion.
JEFFREY PALMER: Looking at a story like N Scott Momaday, who was the first Native American and only Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature, this shows what Native people have brought to the table in terms of their ability to tell stories, their art, their theoretical analysis, their cultural analysis, and the hard work that they put into making America what it is today.
SPEAKER 4: Wake up, wake up, wake up Isabelle.
JEFFREY PALMER: One of the things that we wanted to do to embellish this story and make it more fantastic, because Isabelle's Garden is really a children's story about issues of poverty. And I think that those issues can be very, very harsh around the edges. And so we decided to make this a magical space for this little girl to live and to interact and to take care of this magnificent garden, where she takes vegetables to the community.
SPEAKER 5: I send blessings to the earth. And the earth sends blessings to us.
JEFFREY PALMER: I'm always thinking with the exuberance of a child in terms of my storytelling. So I can have these fantastic animated spaces. Sometimes those animated spaces blend in to the natural world and the natural environment and mix those with a very historical, deep historical, researched analysis of people and cultural and social analysis of people.
So all of those things can be very much a part of the storytelling process and still be documentary. And I think documentary has moved into those spaces, far into those spaces now. And there is a blurring now between both fiction and documentary in many ways. Fiction is now becoming more realistic. And documentary is becoming more fictionalized. And I think that that's a natural transition or evolution for the field.
SPEAKER 6: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
[PIANO MUSIC PLAYING]
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Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jeffrey Palmer, assistant professor of performing and media arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, tells Native Americans’ untold stories while pushing the limits of documentary film.