Kiowa filmmaker Jeffrey Palmer, celebrates one of Native America's most prolific authors of poetry and prose in his latest documentary N. Scott Momaday: WORDS FROM A BEAR. Palmer, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, like Momaday, is ideally chosen to share the story of one of America's great storytellers. Palmer says, "As an Indigenous filmmaker, I feel it is my duty to present Kiowa people in the most compelling manner, visually and sonically." He adds, "It's my duty to bring these stories to a larger audience in the most respectful and culturally sensitive manner."
Palmer reveals intimate details of Momaday's literary writings, his personal life, as well as, the trials and tribulations Momaday has faced as a Native American artist in the 20th and 21st century. Palmer notes, "As a young Kiowa artist dealing with issues of poverty, racism and marginalization, I experienced triumphs using art to maintain the stories of my people." As a family member who spent almost every weekend at powwows, Palmer adds, "I was always in the presence of Kiowa elders and listened closely to the stories they told. Telling the profoundly important story of N. Scott Momaday is an important obligation I owe to my family and my people."
Navarro Scott Momaday won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his novel "House Made of Dawn" among the fiction category. This was the first major accolade given to Native American literature and the description of it's modern culture. In 2007, Momaday was awarded the American Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush and honored by his home state as the Oklahoma Centennial Poet Laureate.
WORDS FROM A BEAR takes the audience on a visual and spiritual journey using Momaday's unique writings line-by-line sharing his own experiences relating to ancestry, place and oral history. Momaday's heritage is the main theme of the film but it goes beyond himself to engage the audience by asking questions relatable to everyone: what are our origins and how do we connect to them through our collective memories? In WORDS FROM A BEAR one observes that Momaday's own identity and answers to questions relating to the human existence is brought to life by the depth of his literary works.
The film will be released nationwide in 2019 and showcased on the PBS documentary series "American Masters."