Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kodiak Kids, Making History

“How do you separate the audio from the video clip?”
RJ Roy and Hunter Blair film an interview at
the museum.

“When did Filipinos start living in the Aleutian Homes?”

“How has the fishing industry affected the Filipino population?”

“Will this work for b-roll?”

These are a sampling of the questions that have flown around the second floor of the Magazin over the last two weeks. The museum has been a hive of activity as the 7th-12th grade students enrolled in our Kodiak Filipino Community Stories history and film intensive conduct interviews, frantically do research, and intently edit their short films.  

This project, the brainchild of Curator of Education Marie Acemah, all started when Filipino Fulbright scholar Joefe Santarita came to the museum to research the history of Filipinos in Kodiak, only to find a small folder with a few pieces of paper inside. Considering that the population of Kodiak is around 30% Filipino and that the community has had a presence in Kodiak since around 1900, we saw our lack of information as a critical gap to be filled. Marie knew we needed to gather more information- and figured that it would be the perfect opportunity to engage students. As a result, the museum, Media Action, and the Filipino-American Association of Kodiak, partnered together to create this class, which was graciously funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum.

Dr. EJR David from UAA flew to Kodiak for the day to
lead a workshop on Filipino American identity during the class.
Nine students will receive one high school history credit for their work. In less than 2 weeks, the students have collected over 20 interviews with community members about the history and legacy of Filipinos in Kodiak. They have done research within the museum’s archive and at the Kodiak Daily Mirror office. They’ve Skyped with family members back in the Philippines and today will have a video teleconference with Senator Mark Begich to ask him about his position on the J-1 visa. And now they are working like mad to complete their films, which will be premiering at the Teen Center on Friday night and on exhibit at the museum, beginning in October.

You are all invited to a potluck and celebration at the Teen Center on Friday, June 15, from 6-9 PM to view the films for the first time. Beyond the films, a break dancing group and Visayan youth music group will perform. Please bring a dish to share! Come congratulate our Kodiak youth filmmakers and learn about the history of Filipinos in Kodiak.

Stay tuned for information on the opening of the Kodiak Filipino Community Stories exhibit in October! Please be in touch if you are interested in finding out about exhibit sponsorship opportunities, too. Thanks to everyone who has already supported this amazing project!