Ava Hamilton

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Ava Hamilton - courtesy of Native American Rights Fund

Filmmaker Ava Hamilton (Arapaho) was a fellow at the Great Waters Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources in 2006. Since 2005 she has taught video production classes at Rough Rock High School on the Navajo Reservation. She was a speaker at the 2005 Native American Journalists Association Convention in Lincoln, Nebraska. Hamilton was a 2001 Producers Academy Fellow, a 1998 National Video Resources Program for Media Artists Fellow, and a 1998 High Country Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources Fellow. She is the director of Everything has a Spirit, which premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival and won the First Place Documentary Award at the 1994 American Indian Film and Video Competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Hamilton is the president of the Native American Producers Alliance and sits on the board of the Western American Indian Chamber. She attended Southwestern State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. She trained as a filmmaker at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hamilton lives in Boulder, Colorado.

November 2006


"I grew up at Arapahoe, Wyoming, on the Wind River Reservation. My grandfathers Tom, Sr. and Grandpa Bill Shakespeare had some influence on my interests, it seems. They would talk about making those black-and-white Westerns and of being with the Wild West Show. They were historians and writers and were very knowledgeable about politics and current events. Years later, when I kept being asked why I make documentaries, I would say that after having screened films about us (American Indians) I knew I could tell a better story—I realized what an impression my grandfathers had made on me about history, storytelling and making film."

Screened by NMAI:

Indians for Indians: A Radio Program (2005), Director
Everything Has a Spirit (1992), Director, Producer


En Español

Film & Video Center, NMAI–NY
National Museum of the American Indian 
Smithsonian Institution 
One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212-514-3737
Fax: 212-514-3725
Email: fvc@si.edu