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Remaining Native (In Production)

English | Directed by Paige Bethmann | Executive Producer, Billy Mills | Producer, Jess Epstein

Remaining Native is a coming-of-age documentary told from the perspective of Ku Stevens, a 17-year-old Native American runner, struggling to navigate his dream of becoming a collegiate athlete as the memory of his great grandfather's escape from an Indian boarding school begins to connect past, present, and future.


In 2021, 215 Indigenous children's remains were discovered in unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops, Canada. Indian boarding schools were a part of both the United States and Canadian federal policies for forced assimilation; the impacts of these schools resulted in loss of language, culture, and even death. For Kutoven Stevens, a 17-year old Native American high school senior and runner, this news resurfaces the memory of his great grandfather, Frank Quinn, who ran 50 miles, 3 times to escape from the Stewart Indian Boarding school, at only 8 years old. 


Frank’s memory becomes a part of Ku’s journey and Ku begins to understand that he can’t outrun his history but must learn how to run in parallel with it. In an act of reverence Ku and his family create an event called the Remembrance Run retracing the 50-mile escape route of his great-grandfather and inviting the community to run alongside him. As Ku draws power from Frank’s story, he begins garnering support and ultimately fulfills his dream of becoming the first Native American runner to be recruited by the University of Oregon. 


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