Dan Bigbee (Comanche) and
producer and screenwriter Lily Shangreaux
(Oglala Lakota) co-founded BIG Productions in 1993.
They produced the self-government segment of Who We Are,
a short film which screens daily at the Lelawi Theater at NMAI
in Washington, DC, and Surviving Strong, a short documentary
about the 2004 Grand Opening of NMAI on the National Mall. Their
PBS documentary, The Great American Footrace, was honored
as Best Documentary at the 2004 Cherokee Film Festival and Best
Public Television Entry at the 2003 Great Plains Film Festival.
Bigbee has served as the president of the American Indian Chamber
of Commerce of Oklahoma and as a panelist evaluating funding proposals
for Independent Television Services (ITVS). He became interested
in documentary in 1976, as the cataloguer of the Native American
Videotape Archives for the Bicentennial Office of the Bureau of
Indian Affairs. Bigbee received an Associate's Degree in fine
art from Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended the
US Naval School of Photography. He grew up in Oklahoma and Alemaya,
In 2004 Shangreaux participated in the NAPT/PIC workshop "Storytelling
for the Screen" and she has also participated in the Writers
Guild of America television-writing workshop. Shangreaux has served
as a panelist for ITVS and as state board secretary of the American
Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma. Formerly she worked in
development at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Shangreaux,
who was raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota,
received her BA in psychology from Princeton University. Bigbee
and Shangreaux live in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Dan Bigbee on documentation in Native communities: "There
is a nationwide cry to preserve languages and oral histories.
Pre-reservation days everybody had a role within the community.
There were the hunters, the warriors, the medicine people, the
winter count people- the historians. Here we are moving that traditional
role of the winter counter/ tribal historian to the little guy
standing there in the corner with this mountain of tape. For instance,
through video people can see what it was like to be Indian in
the mid-seventies when AIM members were raising their fists and
raising a new consciousness. I have a real appreciation for the
fact that this traditional role is being filled, and how each
tribe wants to approach that is pretty much up to them."
Lily Shangreaux: "Since founding BIG Productions, we have
been committed to the accurate representation of the Native American
perspective on life, community, and culture. As Native people,
Dan and I know the importance of our cultures to our life. Our
mission is to produce quality programs that accurately and positively
portray Native peoples and our cultures."
Screened by NMAI
Image credits: Dan
Bigbee & Lily Shangreaux - courtesy of the filmmakers