Ross School - Senior Projects 2012


Student: Autumn Rose Williams

Mentor: Kenneth Kilfara

Domain(s): Media, Cultural History 

Faculty Grader: Christopher Engel




Documentation of Product


Title: Shinnecock: Remember the Past, Hope for the Future



I am a Native American from the Shinnecock Tribe, and I am very proud of where

I come from. This pride made it easy to choose what I would do for my Senior

Project—a documentary about my tribe. Through this documentary I tried to

express the importance of the elders in the Shinnecock community as well as

convey a message of unity. For the Shinnecock community, our tribe is of high

importance and the goal of my documentary is to show my people the things that

make up our community, what is important within our Nation and what brings us




Interview with Shirley Smith


Picture of Editing in Final Cut Pro


Picture of Shinnecock elder and youth with Shinnecock Flag


Picture of Editing in Final Cut Pro



Shinnecock: Remember the Past, hope for the Future

AutumnÕs Power Point


Exhibition & Presentation Summary


In creating this documentary about Shinnecock there were many steps that I had to go through. Three main steps in making my movie were the pre-production, production, and post- production phases. In the pre-production aspect of my project I really had to organize my time and figure out what I needed for the documentary and how I would get that. In this process I mostly organized all the interviews that I would do in order to get the information that I needed for my documentary. This was a difficult part of my process because many elders were hesitant to be filmed, and if I didnÕt film the elders for my movie how would I be able to make it? Luckily I was able to set up enough interviews in order to move onto my production phase of my project.

            For the production phase I was mostly conducting the interviews and going all or the Shinnecock reservation and getting b-role. In this part of my project I truly was able to learn what I wanted when doing my senior project; I learned more about my tribe, my people, and myself. Listening to the elders tell stories about growing up on the reservation and hearing about the stories that make our tribe gave me a sense of pride for who I am and what I want my tribe to maintain and grow to be. Although the production step wasnÕt always easy because I really had to learn how to be an interviewer, which entailed more then I expected, IÕm happy I did it. Learning how to give an interview was harder then I imagined because you really have to learn how to listen and make the interviewee feel comfortable as if it were a conversation.

            Once I had all the footage that I needed to create my film the last step was bringing everything together in order to make my film, the post-production phase. This part of the project is my favorite when working with any footage or film, and itÕs the editing aspect. Here I got to work in final cut pro, which is a program where I was able to cut and past clips together as well as do crazy things such as make an image spin around in a circle. This part was fun for me because I got to excessive my creative ability, yet I ran into many problems in this part of my project. Being that conducting interviews and using the camera was one part of my senior project I wanted to grow in, I didnÕt have the best quality of footage that I wanted. When going over some of the footage I noticed that one of my auntÕs audio was extremely low to the point that final cut pro wasnÕt tech savvy enough to fix. Therefore I had to go reshoot some of her interview.

            All in all I truly enjoyed working on my senior project and would do it again in a heartbeat. Finally finishing the project and getting to show the film really gave me a sense of happiness that will last with me forever. January the thirteenth was a day I was working up to since my junior year and to get positive response about my film made all the hiccups and hard aspect of my process seem nonexistent. Working on the Senior project and following through with something so grand as making a documentary showed me that I can Òreach for the starsÓ and that wouldnÕt have been possible without the support and opportunities that Ross School offers.



Bibliography or Works Consulted


" "Drummer's Entry (Native American Drum with Flute)." By Native American Flute. MP3.


"Flag Song." By Black Lodge. MP3.


"Gentle Winds of Love (Winds & Courting Melody)." By Native American Flute. MP3.


"Grandfather's Breath." By Robert Tree Cody & Will Clipman. MP3.


Interviews with:

Donald Williams Sr.

Camellia Bullock

Dorothy Denis

Shirley Smith 

Agnes Wise

Harry Williams

Edwin C. Garrett

Elizabeth Haile

Marion Phillips

James H. Phillips

Shinnecock Cultural Campers 


Some Footage from Marie Maciak