Jeffrey Palmer


Through digital filmmaking, "Origins" represents a grandfather and grandson's perspectives of Kiowa (Native American) history and storytelling, which together form a visual document tracing the director's ancestral beginnings. These perspectives range from oral narratives and historical analyses, to the director's personal memoirs of growing up on Kiowa allotment land in southwestern Oklahoma. These generational voices lead the audience through the expansive landscape of "Kiowa Country", surveying the origins, homelands, and ceremonial sites of Kiowa existence and identity.

Visually and sonically, "Origins" records the vastness of landscape as well as the intimacy of nostalgic memory. For centuries, Kiowa people traveled far distances, following herds of buffalo across the Great Plains region of North America. On their travels they witnessed many places, observed the universe, and developed many stories. Through storytelling a history, a geography, and a cultural worldview was developed and passed down generation to generation. Thus, present day Kiowa people have strong memories of these regions, even if they never visited them before. "Origins" documents these places and stories, using the medium of digital technology to extend these stories to future generations.

The regions chosen for "Origins" do not represent importance for all Kiowa people, but rather highlights the places most discussed by Kiowa storytellers, artists, and the director's own relatives. The modern locations of these places, which have been re-appropriated by non-Indian culture, are named as follows: Devil's Tower National Park, Wyoming; Black Hills National Park, South Dakota; Palo Duro State Park, Texas; Wichita Mountain State Park, Oklahoma.

It is not by coincidence these majestic places were chosen as significant sites by American culture. Kiowa and other Plains tribes understood a cultural significance of these places centuries ago. Yet, the connection to these landscapes is embodied within Kiowa culture and cuts deep into the consciousness of present day Kiowa people. For the director, this embodiment creates a nostalgic and sublime yearning for these ancestral places of origin, a yearning to walk in the footsteps of his forebears.

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