STILWELL - Cherokee Nation citizen and Stilwell High School senior Mika Chuculate has been selected by "Frontline PBS" to be part of the "Year in Covid'' documentary, airing across the country on Monday, April 26.
Chuculate curated an image from her experience at a Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women's summit at Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum. Her work will be featured alongside four other students chosen from around the globe, including Tampico, Mexico; Los Angeles; Port Elizabeth, South Africa; and Tel Aviv Israel. Chuculate's image and writing will appear on all "PBS Frontline" social media, as well as its website and Twitter.
The image and text was curated by Chuculate for Different Ships, Same Storm - e2 education & environment, a writing project undertaken by Stilwell High School's Advanced Creative Writing program. The program is designed to create empathy for a shared experience and connection among young people during this difficult time around the globe. According to the DSSS website, "This global community of creative youth meets virtually to share images and prose about the pandemic. Together the students became a powerful community eager to learn from each other."
Chuculate's image came about after she worked with her classmates to produce a podcast, https://soundcloud.com/faith-phill/mmiw-podcast, on the topic of MMIW for the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. During the production of the podcast, she interviewed Cherokee Chief Chuck Hoskin and Tohi Research Doctoral Fellow Devon Isaacs from Utah State University.
After the podcast was published, the senior and two of her co-producers, Tyla Sawney and Jimma Fuson, traveled to the Gilcrease Museum, where they attended an MMIW summit, "Giving A Voice to the Missing," hosted by Cherokee Nation first lady January Hoskin. The event included notable panelists like Rep. Ruth Buffalo and Red Dress Project artist Jaime Black. Black, a member of the Métis Tribe, created the REDress Project as an expression of her grief and her feeling of connectedness to fellow indigenous women.
"When we drove up to the Gilcrease, we saw all these red dresses hanging from the trees to represent the women who've gone missing and murdered across the country. Our teacher, Ms. Phillips, hadn't noticed the dresses until we pointed them out to her. I asked her to take our picture standing next to the dresses," Chuculate said. "To me and my classmates, who are also Cherokee, it was a message to all those women and their families to say you are not forgotten and we're still here to help tell your story."
World-famous photojournalist Brendan Bannon will create a portrait of Chuculate in honor of her selection. Elizabeth Eagle, director of Different Ships, Same Storm, wrote of Chuculate's work, "We are very proud of you and are so excited to be able to share your powerful story with 'PBS Frontline.' This is a really big honor."
After graduation, Chuculate will pursue a career in law enforcement.
The Frontline documentary, "The Virus That Shook The World, Part 1," airs Monday, April 26. Visit www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/schedule.