Our first day in South Dakota marked the arrival of account supervisor Hanna Nesper Newell, art producer Kimberly Wilder, creative director Patty Orlando, copywriter Casey Hall, and camera operator Matt Hayes. American Indian College Fund president Rick Williams made the trip up from the Fund’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Once everyone checked in to their rooms at the Lakota Prarie Ranch in Kyle, SD we convened in the lobby for a quick production meeting.
Luckily the only rattlesnake we encountered in South Dakota was the dead one on display in Badlands National Park where we picked up our film permits from Chief Ranger, Casey J. Osback. The Oglala Lakota College campuses are many miles apart in order to serve their students across the entire reservation as well as in Rapid City. To help us navigate and scout locations in this unforgiving territory Rick recruited his cousin, Jake Locust, who has lived and hunted in the area his entire life.
Photographer Anne Menke and her assistant Noel Federizo were able to hone in on some wonderful lookouts in the badlands. In addition, director Joe Pytka, who has donated his time to help the College Fund for the last 15 years, locked in on some great places for the television shoot. The casting team covered an amazing amount of territory interviewing students at the Rapid City, Kyle, Allen, and Piya Wiconi campuses. We’d like to express a huge thanks to Oglala Lakota College financial aid director, Billie Hornbeck. A quick warning to all OLC students; Billie can find you anywhere on the rez! Don’t make her have to call your mom.
The OLC students were simply amazing. Rapid City’s Wade Medicine is working toward his Lakota Studies degree with the goal of teaching Lakota history, culture, and language. Wade had a great time on the shoot, giving us a great interview as well as keeping us entertained.
Despite the turbulent weather, both print and television shoots were a great success. By the weekend we were off to Shiprock, AZ to connect with more of our our Dine’ College students.