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Documentary explores effects of Native American relocation

Larry T. PourierIn 1940, most Native Americans lived on rural reservations, where they earned an average of $950 a year — four times less than the salary of a white American living in the city.

In 1952, the U.S. government created the Urban Indian Relocation Program to entice reservation residents to seven major cities, including Dallas, where jobs were plentiful.

“Urban Rez,” a documentary created this year for Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver, explores the lasting legacy and modern-day effects of the relocation program. The film will be shown 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Life Sciences Complex, Room A117, as part of UNT’s observance of Native American Heritage Month.

Larry T. Pourier, above, the film’s director, will answer questions from the audience after the screening. Pourier, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, will also lead a panel discussion of Native American elders who all relocated to Dallas through the Urban Indian Relocation Program.

The elders recently participated in an oral history project about their relocation experiences for Texas American Indian Heritage Day, which is observed in September. During the discussion, they will share their experiences and compare them to the experiences of Native Americans living in the Denver area, who are depicted in the film.

“Urban Rez” received a Best Cultural Documentary regional Emmy earlier this year from the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The chapter consists of 11 television markets in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Pourier has worked in the Native American film industry for more than 20 years. His other work includes “Our America — Life on the Rez,” produced for the Oprah Winfrey Network; “Good Meat,” a documentary on the American bison and Native American foods of the Great Plains; and the PBS series “We Shall Remain.”       

— Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions

Posted on: Mon 04 November 2013

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