Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

February 18, 2010

Two Eagle River School presents a portrait of the Reservation

By Lailani Upham

Photo and story display by Two Eagle River students is set up at the CSKT Tribal Complex on the second floor for public view through the end of the month. (Lailani Upham photo)
Photo and story display by Two Eagle River students is set up at the CSKT Tribal Complex on the second floor for public view through the end of the month. (Lailani Upham photo)

PABLO — A photo and story display has been set up by Two Eagle River students at the CSKT Tribal Complex for a chance to walk down memory lane and get to know a few folks in the community.

The intergenerational project with “A Voice – Art Vision and Outreach in Community Education” is focused on storytelling and intended to connect youth with a variety of people in their own community, according to project coordinators David Spear and Jennifer Greene.

Greene, a poet and writer, and Spear, an educator and photographer, have been teaching over the past five years to students on several projects within the Flathead and Rocky Boy Reservations and in Helena.

There were 17 students ranging from seventh to twelfth grade who have participated in the two-year project. Currently, students are continuing with their subjects through 2010.

The photograph interview project have included copies of earlier and historical family photos that were generously provided by the interviewees.

“A Voice – Art Vision and Outreach in Community Education” is a 501(c ) 3 non-profit organization in Pablo that sponsors arts based programming on the Flathead Reservation and rural Montana communities.

Spear has work exhibited in Europe and throughout the United States. He has been published in The New York Times magazine, German Geo, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He was named the Ernst Hass Photography Educator of the Year in 2000. That year Spear’s moved to Polson to build outreach projects to serve the rural youth of Montana. Spear was also an instructor at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts in the Photography and Imaging, and the undergraduate Film and Television Departments.

Spear developed the International Center of Photography's Community Outreach Program for underserved communities of New York City and now works part-time at both Salish Kootenai College and Two Eagle River School.

Greene, a CSKT tribal member, was born and raised on the Flathead Reservation. She is the author of “What I Keep” a collection of poems recalling memories and experiences of love won and lost.

“A good poet uses the facts of the physical world and the realities of everyday life to give readers a chance to know what it's like to see the world from behind another's eyeballs, from inside someone else's skin,” said Kevin Finnigan, a reader from Maine hailing Greene’s work.

This idea for the project came to Greene and Spear to have young people take on experience and think about their own life from the lives of others, according to Spear.

Students who participated in the project are: Taylor Mullaney, Roylee Conica, Michael Brown, Chauncy Miller, Robert Howard, Nathan Drennan, Allie Andrew, Frank Stanger Jr., David Martinez, Nicole Couture, Tobias Mitchell, Joshanna Couture, Savion Zanca, Jacinte Chiefstick, Justina Jackson, Latasha D., and Marcus Brown.

“It is really exciting. Through this project the students got a chance to meet people they might not normally have met, “ Greene said. “I think kids found it inspiring,” she added.

According to Spear, the two of them helped guide the students in the interviewing and photographing process but ultimately stepped back and allowed the student to engage in their subjects and develop a story.

“It is my goal as a photographer and educator to share the power of photography and to bring the excitement of making and sharing pictures to as many diverse audiences as possible,” Spear said.

The TERS student display will be set up through the end of the month and is located on the second floor of the Tribal Complex.

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