On March 24, 2017 the film Native Like Water: We’re Still Here, made its national debut at the Water Is Life Expo in Flint, Michigan opening for HBO Vice’s Flint Water Crisis episode and Viceland’s Standing Rock documentary.
The film was produced by UCSD Communication doctoral student Caroline Collins and Native youth who were participating in a UCSD summer program. UCSD Communication doctoral students Nalini Biggs and Kim Clark joined the project; Biggs served as Director of Photography and Lead Editor, and Clark gave a guest lecture. The program was supported by UC San Diego’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in partnership with InterTribal Youth, La Clase Mágica, and UCSD Extension.
For the past three summers, Collins has conducted narrative-based research with Native American youth, focusing on cultural memory, multimedia production, and media activism. Last summer, Collins and her Native students collectively wrote, produced, and filmed the 10+ minute visual essay, Native Like Water: We’re Still Here, The film – which incorporates the students’ writing, filmed video content, audio collection, and artwork – reconstructs the students’ ties to their local Native maritime culture and questions ‘what it means to be Native today?’
Collins and Biggs are currently working on a supplemental documentary that investigates the ethos, methodology, and power dynamics that accompany collaborative media intervention projects.