SCHOLARSHIP and APPRENTICESHIP PARTNER / The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Northwest Chapter (Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Montana).
Billy Frank Jr. Scholarship / Julien Jacobs
The Board of Directors of THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY is extremely happy to announce the first recipient of the Billy Frank Jr. Scholarship! Julien Jacobs is an amazing young Native Alaskan multimedia journalist already with a long list of impressive accomplishments. Julien is from the village of Naparayaraq, aka Hooper Bay, and Bethel, Alaska. We met him through Victoria Hykes Steere, Associate Professor at Alaska Pacific University/Institute for Village Resilience and Member of the Board of Directors of THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY. Julien's also a 19-times-decorated combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, and who as a 20-something NCO in the U.S. Marines was tasked with training over 900 Marines in 60+ countries. After leaving the USM with the rank of Sergeant E-5, Julien came back to his Native Alaskan community and immediately dedicated himself to improving his skills as a video journalist and indigenous activist. He administered one of the world's largest and most diverse indigenous social networks of around 150,000, delivering social media of film vodcasts and documentaries through only a camera phone. He organized and filmed a six-month walk across America's Indian reservations, aligning over 450 tribes to deliver a Manifesto to Congress. He broadcast video in one day to over 21,000 indigenous people. He also began a series of educational Alaska Native Muppet videos for children. And one extremely impressive accomplishment – over the course of four months Julien traveled to four remote Native Alaskan villages to record in their traditional language over 200 hours of oral histories from Yup'ik elders. To do that, he had to cover a distance of some 1,300 miles – first on his snow machine, and then when it broke down, on just his skis.
Julien's also taken on some profound and complicated social issues in Indian Country. For three years he built traditional grounds that rehabilitated sex offenders, and OCS cases, and has trained trainers in health and wellness who have a 93% success rate in treatment. We can't imagine a more qualified candidate for such an honorably named scholarship. We're anxious to help him source additional training and improve his production skills, upgrade his equipment (maybe a real camera this time instead of his cellphone!), and continue mentoring him and getting him connected with producers and involved in ongoing broadcast journalism projects, including THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY With Billy Frank Jr.
One of Julien's immediate interests is to continue to document the impacts to Native Alaskan villages like his own Naparayaraq, rapidly eroding due to climate change. He clearly met one of the main criteria for this scholarship – a lifelong commitment to his people and community.
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