Over the past four years, I have had the good fortune to establish and maintain meaningful relationships with members of the Chippewa-Cree, Piikani, Northern Cheyenne and Crow tribes, building reciprocal trust through the sharing of stories, life experiences, spiritual rituals and documentary filmmaking skills (my film students and I have been designing and leading documentary workshops with members of these tribes since 2015).

Circles of Story Circles builds upon these friendships and the cultural experience I accrued while interacting with members of these tribal communities. This experience has raised my awareness about the utmost importance of behaving in a respectful, sensitive and culturally appropriate manner while interacting cross-culturally. Native Americans have particularly become reluctant to cooperate with non-Native documentary filmmakers and researchers because of the fact they have been often treated as the objects of studies that very rarely benefit Indigenous families and communities. Circles of Story Circles is thus committed:

  • To give voice to the stories and experiences of Indigenous peoples, emphasizing community control and tribal sovereignty over the project’s content and methodological approach.
  • To provide Indigenous community members with an outlet to preserve and disseminate their cultural knowledge.
  • To show non-Indigenous documentary filmmakers how to embrace Indigenous ways of knowing and methodologies in the documentary making process as an alternative model to western-centric documentary approaches.
  • To demonstrate how audiovisual storytelling can be used as an act of living resistance and political action.


Lucia's Short Bio

Lucia Ricciardelli is an Associate Professor in the School of Film and Photography at Montana State University in Bozeman, where she teaches film studies and mentors graduate students in the MFA Program in Science & Natural History Documentary Filmmaking. Over the past decade, Ricciardelli’s scholarly work has encompassed two main areas of research. On the one hand, it has been focused on the crisis of Eurocentric documentary, investigating how personal approaches to nonfiction filmmaking, the high degree of malleability of digital photography and the logic of the hypertext have openly challenged the truth claims of mainstream documentarians. On the other hand, her academic work has involved a partnership with Native Americans for the preservation and dissemination of their oral stories, using audiovisual storytelling as an act of living resistance and political action. Ricciardelli's approach to these areas of study has been characterized by interdisciplinary methods and has been closely informed by her teaching.

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