The feature documentary Remaining Native tells the story of Ku Stevens(Yerington/Paiute), who at 18 years old dreams of running towards a future as anelite athlete, but when the remains of thousands of Native children are discoveredacross North America, Ku's painful family history is unearthed and Ku begins toreexamine his own identity. For over a century, tens of thousands of Indigenouschildren were forced into boarding school institutions, including Ku’s GreatGrandfather, many never returned.
In an act of remembrance and reconciliation, Ku runs the 50-mile escape route hisgreat grandfather took as he fled from Indian boarding school at only 8 years old. AsAmerica begins a long-overdue reckoning for the atrocities at Indian boardingschools, Remaining Native reveals a coming-of-age story that asks if it’s possible to run from home without running away from who you are.
Ku Stevens is a cross country team of one. A rising senior at Yerington High school, Ku petitioned the school to create a cross country team when it was not offered. Between solo practices and holding a full-time job, Ku managed to take his Nevada 2021 state champion in the 3200 to a gold medal at the USATF Junior Olympics.
Post-graduation, he hopes to run D1 at The University of Oregon Ku’s father Delmar Stevens instilled the love of running in Ku at a young age by taking him along on runs while Ku rode in a stroller. At four years old, Ku won his first race during The Jingle Bell run when he ran the half-mile. By 8th grade, Ku broke the 5:00 minute mile.
Ku is a member of the Yerington Paiute Tribal Nation and grew up with a strong sense of culture through traditions like sweat lodge and azteca dance. However, it wasn’t until Ku read the book “Bury My Heart and Wounded Knee” by Dae Brown that he really understood the fraught relationship between indigenous peoples and the US government.
LEARN MORE ABOUT KU AND HIS FAMILY
Following the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the former site of The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada, the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.
The discovery of the remains of children at former Boarding School sites is a painful history but one that must be acknowledged. Ku's own story leads the film to the Stewart Indian School which is actively participating in the Federal Investigation.
Stacey Montooth, Executive Director of the State of Nevada Indian Commission, and Bobbi Raider, Museum Director of Stewart Indian School, are working to gather documents that will be submitted to the Department of the Interior as part of the investigation. Montooth is meeting with tribal leaders to discuss the process of uncovering the truth of unmarked graves at the Stewart Indian school. While Stacey works through this process, she is also having to unpack her grandmother's story and her experience at Stewart for14 years. These acts are systemic and personal all at once.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION
“REMAINING NATIVE” emerges at a critical time as public awareness of the Indian Residential Schools in Canada calls into question the hundreds of Indian boarding schools that existed for over a century in the United States.
While this film follows Ku and the story of Frank Quinn escaping from the Stewart Indian School, there are countless other families that have similar histories with legacies that live on today.
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