Article in University of Michigan Publication
United Methodist Churches in Michigan Show "Our Fires Still Burn" Documentary
World Channel to Broadcast "Our Fires Still Burn" during Native American Heritage Month 2016
Tribal College Journal Review:
Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience
Directed by Audrey Geyer
Review by Ryan Winn
Part historical record, part rallying cry, this documentary film explains how the legacy of the 20th-century boarding school experience has manifested itself in subsequent generations. Told entirely through unscripted oration, the film speculates that taking children from their parents at a young age created a parental and cultural ignorance. Subsequent generations, the film contends, never learned how to be Indigenous parents themselves. Yet despite stories of sadness and assimilation, the film’s potency derives from those stories in which years of adversity have given way to times of cultural pride and preservation.
The film highlights the high rates of depression, suicide, and substance abuse among Native men, and how tragically there are few social programs focused on healing the sense of loss that is so prevalent. Yet it juxtaposes these facts with rich and cathartic stories that underscore the resiliency of people who continue to embrace their culture: a fire keeper explains the meaning behind his ceremony, a businessman talks of having to live in “two worlds,” an artist sees the necessity of cultural awareness, and a youth advocate illuminates how her own struggles are manifested in the young people whose lives she strives to elevate. The result is an assemblage of anecdotes that exemplify how Native culture can and must thrive despite adversity.
The horrors of personal and cultural loss that many Indigenous Americans have suffered through are impossible to quantify, but the voices in this film collectively argue that Native people must not succumb to the burdens inflicted upon them. The opening narration says it best: “If you review history, perhaps the Indians are pretty justified in the anger. However, you can’t let the anger destroy you…Take that anger and turn it into something good that can work on behalf of future generations.”
Ryan Winn teaches English, theater, and communications at College of Menominee Nation where he also serves as the Humanities Department chair.
The American Indian Graduate: "A Documentary of Personal Stories of Native American Role Models"
"Teaching at NMC."
Free Viewers Guide for Educators for the documentary.
School Library Journal Review
January - 2014
Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience. 57 min. Dist. by Visions. 2013. ISBN unavail. $99.95. Gr 6 Up-The enduring struggle for Native Americans to regain spiritual and tribal ways dominates this one-hour documentary situated on the Isabela Indian Reservation in Michigan. Saginaw Chippewa leaders describe their contemporary successes and struggles in light of their ancestors' traumatic history. Living between two worlds is the norm for this community; balancing Euro-American culture and traditional Native American worldviews. Fourteen chapters describe today's opportunities for Indian youth in light of history. The central sections involving elders and keeping the sacred fire are most informative relative to spiritual awareness. As a result of the devastating cultural effects of Indian boarding schools, communities are still seeking ways to reclaim their ancestral ways. Renewed vigor in traditional language and teachings are helped by devoted leaders. Saginaw Chippewa represent a pan-Indian trend of forgiveness and spiritual resurgence. Hope for a healthier future is the focus, grounded in the ancient wisdom that survives despite aggressive federal policies to "Kill the Indian, Save the Man."
By Gabe Waskiewicz
"Independent filmmaker Audrey Geyer’s docu- mentary, Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience, centers on the lives of several contemporary Native Americans liv- ing in the Midwest. Throughout the film, Geyer illustrates both the accomplishments of these individuals, as well as the varying struggles they had to overcome to achieve their goals."
Native News Online.Net
Tuesday, December 23, 2014: Producer Reflects on Making “Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience”
Friday, November 22, 2013: “Our Fires Still Burn” Provides a Well-packaged Look at Contemporary American Indians
Tuesday, November 12, 2013: “Our Fire Still Burns” Screens Tonight in Windy City
NYU Silver School of Social Work
Stories of Alumni in Action
Our Fires Still Burn: NYU Silver Alumna Explores the Native American Experience in a New Documentary
At the end of October, the documentary Our Fires Still Burn by Audrey Geyer, MSW ’94, will be shown at the 2014 Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. Part of the CSWE Film Festival, Our Fires Still Burn explores the experiences of contemporary Native Americans through a compilation of frank, compelling first-person narratives.
Geyer’s passion for documenting the human condition has led to her dual roles as a social worker and filmmaker. She considered majoring in psychology as an undergraduate, but decided instead on documentary production because it allowed her to marry her psychosocial and filmmaking interests into cinematic vehicles for change. She received her BA in film and video studies from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1988, and in 1992 started at the NYU Silver School of Social Work’s MSW program.
Film Review : International Journal of Multicultural Education
Our Fires Still Burn - The Native American Experience
A one hour documentary (2013)
Executive Producer/Director: Audrey Geyer
Co - Producer: Levi Rickert
Dr. John Caruso, Jr.
Media Reviews Editor
Mary Jane Doerr, Saturday contributor | Posted Nov 2, 2013
'Our fires still burn': Petoskey namesake produces music for documentary
One of Petoskey’s sons has created music to accompany a one-hour documentary about Michigan Native Americans that will air on public television beginning in late November. The man is quite literally one of Petoskey’s sons. He’s Warren Petoskey, great-great-grandson of Chief Ignatius Petoskey.
October 21st, 2013
The Washtenaw Voice
Reclaiming history: filmmaker explores native experience
By M. M. Donaldson
American soldiers stand over a mass grave, filled with babies, women and men of Native descent, with the stance of boastful hunters posing with their catch.
This is one of several extremely graphic black and white pictures of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre shown at the beginning of the documentary, “Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience.”
Booklist Online Exclusive: May 14, 2013
Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience.
Visions, DVD, $29.95.
The decimation of Native Americans “is considered by many to be our American holocaust.” And although the history of Native Americans is covered in this program, the focus is on various Native American role models determined to introduce succeeding generations to their proud heritage. Through archival photographs, contemporary footage, and interviews, the video profiles various persons who have chosen to honor the struggles of their ancestors by courageously overcoming their demons and reconnecting with Indian traditions. The indignities and injustice of “the boarding-school school era,” when children were removed from their homes and sent away to schools where they were denied their language and traditions, is juxtaposed with stirring scenes of modern-day ceremonies. Even if the background music is somewhat distracting, it does not overshadow the inspiring personal journeys. This immersive look at Native American culture stresses the importance of not allowing others to define one’s history.
— Donald Liebenson