ABOUT: Paper Rocket Productions (PRP) is a Flagstaff, Northern-Arizona based independent media company. As an independent media company, PRP provides audio/visual needs for organizations, individuals and other creative companies making everlasting strides within Indigenous communities. We provide initial engagement, conception & project development for Documentaries, Short Film, Music Video, Event Coverage & Promotional video productions. We believe by providing these services strengthens communication between communities and individuals who have the ideas & stories to empower future generations of Indigenous people. We're passionate, inventive and inspired by artist who make ever lasting changes in their communities. 

Very often organizations need promotional material, documentation and direct-to-audience projects. Successful campaigns feature detailed concepts to encourage a targeted audience to take some sort of action towards an idea. Visually appealing videos create an immediate impact for the modern audiences, communities and societies seeking change. It is our passion to invest our talents to innovative new approaches for cultural preservation, social impact and community development within indigenous communities.

MISSION: Paper Rocket Productions (PRP) mission is to provide uniquely tailored video production services and support, by incorporating the latest in Video Production Technology to author sophisticated and creative content. Currently their is a displacement of media literacy, in Indigenous communities not owned or operated by Indigenous people. PRP thrives to inspire indigenous community members to convey their stories through Motion-Picture, Digital-Media and Photography. We are dedicated to give our audience's a new perspective of Indigenous people throughout the world.

in Production (2009 - present)

Short Summary

Tó éí ííná át'é (Water is Life) is a film illustrating environmental and social issues impacting indigenous nations in the Southwest of the United States. Two filmmakers (Peaches and Hoyungowa) guide us through the history of industry and the indigenous perspective often overlooked by mainstream media. 


As young Navajo filmmakers, we’ve set out to illustrate the environmental and social impacts of industrial development and the continued struggle of the Navajo People. We also touch upon how the history of our people has impacted future generations of indigenous people in the United States and beyond. We hope our depiction of these struggles could lead to change in the Navajo/Hopi Government and most importantly, the People.

In the Navajo culture, water is sacred, without water there would be no life. So it is disheartening for many to suffer the repercussion's of companies like "Peabody Coal Mine", which for over 40 years used 1.4 billion gallons of potable water to slurry coal from Black Mesa, AZ to Laughlin, NV. Within the 273 mile stretch of pipeline, its puzzling to see how Peabody Coal was able to create a sustainable pipeline while many Navajo families are still without running water.

With the Colorado River outlining the north western region of the Navajo Nation, it would seem practical to assume that the people themselves have an entitled right to the water. Yet, through the creation of the Central Arizona Project (CAP), Black Mesa Coal Mine,  Kayenta Coal Mine, Four Corners Generating Station, Mohave Generating Station, Navajo Generating Station, Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant, and Uranium Mining-have spawned greater problems for the Navajo and Hopi nations.

The use of unregulated and untreated water poses a constant health risk from uranium exposure, resulting in significant effects on the health of the Navajo people. Reproductive-organ cancers in teenage Navajo girls average 17 times higher than the average of girls in the United States yet, many Navajo people and their livestock are still drinking uranium & arsenic contaminated water.

As young Native American filmmakers, we feel obligated to document the ongoing struggles of Native Americans and the loss of their initial entitlement to the natural resources that surround their sacred boundaries. Through the production of our documentary, we hope to restore hope for future generations. Maybe the depiction of these struggles could lead to change in the Navajo/Hopi Government and most importantly, the People.


CLIP 1: In this clip members of the Navajo Nation confront John McCain and John Kyl who were invited by Navajo Nation Governance to discuss legislation of SB.2109. Many concerned citizens of the surrounding indigenous communities confront and express opposition to this bill. (not currently in legislation).

Enjoy the Film for FREE!

Synopsis: Calvin is a young boy who has lost his father, his dream is to find him. In order to do so he builds a makeshift space rocket that he hopes to use and find his father against his mother's advice.

Directed: Donavan Seschillie

Producer: Deidra Peaches

Starring: Micheal Sangsteer, Danielle D. Henry, Timothy Cronley Jr. and Alana Nicole Clark

Launched in 2011, Paper Rocket Productions serves over five hundred tribes across North America. Combining the art of storytelling with the art of filmmaking, they capture stories that are enriched with history and holistic principles.

Founders, Jake Hoyungowa and Deidra Peaches, utilize their unique skill set to preserve the voices of the past, to teach the future. Paper Rocket Productions strives to motivate young artists from Native communities to pick up their cameras, pick up their scripts and tell their stories.

Directed by: Deidra Peaches

Cinematography by: Jake Hoyungowa

In this film Deidra Peaches wanted to make a short documentary exploring the mindset of someone who lives a traditional Navajo lifestyle. Featured in this film is Deira's grandmother who continues to live on land she was raised on and continues to pass that knowledge onto to her grandchildren. We may not see her grandmother as much in the film, to respect her wishes of not wanting to be fully captured Jake captured the things that surround and build her character.

Directed by: Jake Hoyungowa

Score by: Ben Velazco, Brian Regan & Dylan Barnes - Coach

In this short film Jake wanted to capture the beauty from a birds eye view. With one of todays modern technological advances in Cinematography Jake utilizes a drone to capture some of Dine Bikeyah (Navajo land) most beautiful land formations. It is evident that we live on some of earths most precious land and many people seem to forget what it takes to live in beauty. To capture this feeling Jake combines a warm soundtrack created by the musicians of Coach, Ben Velazco, Brian Regan & Dylan Barnes.

Directed by: Deidra Peaches & Jake Hoyungowa

Produced by: Catapult Design - Heather Fleming

Catapult Designs is a company set on discovering new ideas and innovation for Indigenous communities. Their goal is to invite and empower innovation, technology & collaboration. In this film we capture the spirit of the Indigenous entrepreneur.

Directed by: Deidra Peaches & Jake Hoyungowa

Produced by: Tolani Lake Enterprises

In this film we explore the legacy of Navajo Uranium mining and the impacts to community members on the Navajo Nation. 

Directed by: Jake Hoyungowa

Nihigaal bee iina (Our Walk for Existence) is the journey of young Navajo people connecting back to the land of their ancestors and to make aware of the impacts of uranium extraction and other social ills impacting Navajo communities.

From 2014 - 2015 Paper Rocket Productions produced several short videos with Project 562, focugin on Indigenous community members who are making a difference in their community. From Alaska to the East Coast, Project 562 continues to represent indigenous people paving a path for their future.

Matika Wilbur, one of the Pacific Northwest's leading photographers, has exhibited extensively in regional, nation, and international venues such as the Seattle Art Museum, The Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture, The Tacoma Art Museum, The Royal British Columbia Musuem of Fine Arts, and the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France. Matika, a Native American Woman of the Swinomish & Tulalip Tribe's is unique as an artist and social documentarian in Indian Country the insight, depth, and passion with which she explores the contemporary Native identity and experience are communicated through the impeccable artistry of each of her silver photographs.




Multi-Media and Indigenous Filmmaking: Film Production/Photography/Music Production

Multi-Media is a combination of text, audio, still images, animation and video that are usually accessed through electronic devices. We allow these mediums to help evoke communication to introduce change, in our society. 

It is important to honor our ancestors by gathering information for the future generations, be it from: stories, anecdotes, family traditions, songs and especially hard information like photos or documents. Treating this information as a guiding element for story telling may be personal but often as storytellers say, we base our stories on what we know. It is a priority as a storyteller to understand your past to also shape the future. 

There is a continuing demand for more media outlets within our reservations. Though the reservation currently houses a radio and newspaper, its coverage is limited to both its staff and monetary needs.

However, with the evolution of technology, the need for big budget publications is no longer an essential aspect for broadcast media. In recent years, blogging, social networking, message boards, podcasting and YouTube have all been utilized in sharing stories affecting people in different places around the world.

These advancements in technology have the potential to create outlets for people to voice their opinions and concerns in very rural areas around the globe. With our colleagues, we have created short documentaries showing multiple aspect of Native American culture. Through many of the excerpts lasted no more than five minutes, its content allowed a glimpse for foreign viewers to witness a piece of culture unaccustomed to their own. We have seen the effects of filmmaking and what empowerment it can create within individuals.

Multi-Media Workshops

The Nature of the program is to educate participants of the importance of utilizing visual devices in efforts to construct; digital transmission media, digital media, electronic media, multimedia, news media, and etc. We would also like to incorporate into the curriculum a brief history of media and how media is currently evident on the Navajo Reservation.

  • Teach a brief history of media
  • Discuss Current Media on the Rez
  • Incorporating Media with Filmmaking

How the program will be conducted will be based on a curriculum that incorporates the filmmaking as well as the importance of media within an isolated society. Given the vast geographical area of the Navajo Nation, it is necessary for each participate to voice their opinion on issues that are affecting their local community; that being the community of Shonto, Kayenta and Shiprock or surrounding areas.

The outcome of the workshops is for all participants to be both interactive in the process of making a film and to be able to simultaneously achieve a singular goal as a fully functioning team.

  • Teamwork
  • Discover the importance of Media
  • Create a Video

The Most successful workshops, that we have witnessed, where those that thoroughly covered an in-depth look on the importance of Pre-Production, Production, and Post Production. The extra-time spent in teaching each subject allowed for more students to be “hands-on” Trained in multiple aspects of filmmaking. If some students are not keen to the technical aspect of the filmmaking process, there is certainly alternative activities that can apply each participant toward their own creative endeavors, Script Supervisor, Gaffer, Researchers, Story Board Artist, Location Manager, Producers, and etc. 

In Conclusion, by cultivating this project we are creating an engaging alternative perspective of how media affects the United States as well as Native Communities. We hope that our partnership will allow independent media to blossom within your community.

Enjoy the Student Films Below!


Special Thanks

Workshop Mentors

Shelby Ray, Camille Tso, Ben Velazco, Patrick Tso, Cassie Goodluck Johnson, Kino Benally, Chris Cegielski, Sam Minkler, Sakya Calsoyas, Ryan Dennison, Megan Babbitt and Cassandra Johnson.


Kayenta Cultural Center - Kayenta Unified School District - Kayenta, AZ

Shiprock Office of Dine Youth - Shiprock, NM.

Shonto Community Governance - Shonto Chapter - Shonto, AZ

Haa Naa' Dli Youth Center - Huerfano Chapter - Huerfano, NM


Paper Rocket Productions: A decolonizing epistemology of young Indigenous filmmakers

by Xamuel Bañales

This Interview explores the significance of Paper Rocket Productions-an independent film company co-founded by young Indigenous filmmakers in Northern Arizona, USA. The author highlights why their artistic works are exceptional, followed by a discussion with two of the filmmakers and co-founders of the enterprise. The conversation brings attention to their filmmaking, primarily to the forthcoming feature-length documentary "Water is Life - Tó éí ’iiná até". This film reveals how the industrilization of the Navajo Nation negatively affects the sacredness of water and traditional ways of life, and the interview calls attention to how Paper Rocket Productions relates and contributes to a decolonizing epistemology.

Politics of Identity: emerging idigneity

Edited by Michelle Harris, Martin Kakata and Bronwyn Carlson

UTS ePress ISBN: 9780987236920

The issue of Indigenous identity has gained more attention in recent years from social science scholars, yet much of the discussions still centre on the politics of belonging or not belonging. 

While these recent discussions in part speak to the complicated and contested nature of Indigeneity, both those who claim Indigenous identity and those who write about it seem to fall into a paradox of acknowledging its complexity on the one hand, while on the other hand reifying notions of 'tradition' and 'authentic cultural expression' as core features of an Indigenous identity. Since identity theorists generally agree that who we understand ourselves to be is as much a function of the time and place in which we live as it is about who we and others say we are, this scholarship does not progress our knowledge on the contemporary characteristics of Indigenous identity formations.

The range of international scholars in this volume have begun an approach to the contemporary identity issues from very different perspectives, although collectively they all push the boundaries of the scholarship that relate to identities of Indigenous people in various contexts from around the world. Their essays provide at times provocative insights as the authors write about their own experiences and as they seek to answer the hard questions: Are emergent identities newly constructed identities that emerge as a function of historical moments, places, and social forces? If so, what is it that helps to forge these identities and what helps them to retain markers of Indigeneity? And what are some of the challenges (both from outside and within groups) that Indigenous individuals face as they negotiate the line between 'authentic' cultural expression and emergent identities? Is there anything to be learned from the ways in which these identities are performed throughout the world among Indigenous groups? Indeed why do we assume claims to multiple racial or ethnic identities limits one's Indigenous identity? The question at the heart of our enquiry about the emerging Indigenous identities is when is it the right time to say me, us, we... them?

10. Refusing Nostalgia: Three Indigenous Filmmakers' Negotiations of Identity

by Jeff Berglund

(Paper Rocket Productions is feature on page 185)