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Published on August 26th, 2015 | by ABCUSA


Rare Crow Indian Film Restored

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/26/15)—The American Baptist Historical Society will hold a free public showing of two rare historical films, Crow Indians on the Jesus Trail and Song of the Shining Mountains on Friday, October 2, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in Mercer University’s Atlanta Administrative Conference Center (2930 Flowers Road South, Atlanta, GA), Room 190.   Created to tell the story of Baptist work among the Crow Indians of Lodge Grass, Montana, in the mid-20th century, these films are also important records of Crow people and places. Following the showing, a modern contextual perspective for the films will be provided by a panel of commentators knowledgeable in Crow heritage and culture, Baptist missions in the Lodge Grass area, and film preservation.

Crow Indians on the Jesus Trail is a silent color film that depicts the American Baptist Crow Indian mission in Lodge Grass, Montana in the early 1940s. The film was produced by Edmund C. Shaw, who directed American Baptist Films for 36 years and was involved in the production of more than 250 motion films and filmstrips, several of which focused on the plight of the American Indian. The American Baptist Historical Society holds the only known copy of Crow Indians on the Jesus Trail. In recognition of the film’s unique historical significance, the National Film Preservation Foundation recently awarded an $8,000 grant for its restoration and conservation.

Song of the Shining Mountains is a color motion picture that presents life on an American Indian reservation in the mid-1950s as seen through the eyes of a summer student missionary. The scripted drama was shot on location in Lodge Grass, and all acting roles were played by local Crow Indians and American Baptist missionaries with the Crow Agency in Montana. With the assistance of Edmund C. Shaw, Song of the Shining Mountains was produced on behalf of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and sponsored by eight Protestant denominations. Along with Crow Indians on the Jesus Trail, Song of the Shining Mountains forms part of the American Baptist Historical Society’s Edmund C. Shaw film and personal papers collection.

A panel discussion among four specialists will follow the film showings. Panelist Angela Russell has spent her life involved in educational, social and mental health issues for Crow Nation and the State of Montana. Raised in Lodge Grass and a current member of First Crow Baptist Church, Ms. Russell has served as the Chief Judge for the Crow Nation as well as a representative to the Montana State Legislature. Educated at Montana State University, University of Montana, and Tulane University, Russell has been a longtime advocate for the educational and social needs of her people. She brings to the panel not just her education and degrees in sociology, anthropology, and social work, but also wide experience in working with the Crow and other Host Nations. Panelist Heidi Holmstrom, a professional film preservation specialist with the National Archives, is currently volunteering as technical advisor for the Crow Indians on the Jesus Trail conservation project. Panelists Larry and Janice Page will talk about their experiences as part of a volunteer team from First Baptist Church of Indianapolis, Indiana, that has been visiting and working with the Lodge Grass Crow Baptists every fall for over 20 years.

Founded in 1853, the American Baptist Historical Society preserves and shares the largest and most diverse collection of Baptist materials in the world. For more information about our collections, services, programs, and events, visit our website at or call us at 678-547-6680.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

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