Summer Sun, Winter Moon

Summer Sun, Winter Moon

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 9:00pm

Pictured: Native dancers at the 2008 North American Indian Days pow-wow. 

Credit: Courtesy of ©Chuck Moss

A symphony inspired by the Lewis and Clark expedition brings together two individuals from different worlds to create a unique work of art from the perspective of the Native American.

Summer Sun, Winter Moon, airing Sunday, November 16, 2012 at 9 p.m. on WXXI World (cable 524/DT21.2), is a thought-provoking documentary film exposing viewers to the reality of the American Indian perspective of Lewis and Clark’s legendary Corps of Discovery mission.

Rob Kapilow, a celebrated classical music artist, is commissioned to compose a symphonic work with a specific theme: a reflection of the enduring legacy of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Often referred to as a young Leonard Bernstein, the youthfully energetic Kapilow foregoes his original intent to set the journals of Lewis and Clark to music, choosing to actually retrace the journey himself as a catalyst for fresh inspiration.

Upon engaging tribal representatives out West in active dialogue about how best to convey their stories, Kapilow finds himself overwhelmed at the crossroads of textbook history and the tangible perspective of the American Indian. Seeking to collaborate with Blackfeet tribal member Darrell Robes Kipp, the innovative artist delves into a sharply alternative—and controversial—avenue of perspective: that of the indigenous storyteller’s view “from the river bank, not the boat.”

“There’s nothing to celebrate here…not for Indian people,” says Darrell Robes Kipp, referring to the planned events for the celebration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. The co-founder of the Nitzipuahsin Blackfeet Language Immersion School, Kipp is a poet and educator who has been laboring to salvage his native people’s language from the brink of near extinction. Enlisted by Kapilow, Kipp agrees to author the libretto for the symphony project, offering his own hand to the composer who dared to reach across the divide.

In honor of Native American History Month, WXXI-TV and Radio will broadcast a variety of programs featuring the men and women who shaped the Native American experience.