Clarke Historical Library receives $15,000 grant for documentary

Clarke Historical Library received a grant of $15,000 to complete its documentary on American Indians fighting in the Civil War.

The library was among 14 organizations awarded the major grant by the Michigan Humanities Council.

“This grant will support the completion and dissemination of 'The Road to Andersonville: Michigan Native Americans Sharpshooters in the Civil War,’ a film documenting the history of the Native American soldiers of the first Michigan Sharpshooters during the Civil War," according to a news release.

Frank Boles, director of Clarke Historical Library, said the project has already started and the grant will allow it to be completed in late summer or early next fall.

“There are still some more interviews to be done and more production work,” Boles said.

David Schock is the film’s producer and said the film will be documenting the 139 American Indians who served in the Sharpshooters and some who were sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

“These men did not have to serve, (but) they realized if southerners were successful, they would be nothing better than slaves,” he said.

Robbe DiPietro, program director for major grants, oversees all of the applications that come in.

DiPietro said there were 21 applicants who were considered, but only 14 were funded.

“Public programming is very important, as well as how culture is brought to the public,” DiPietro said.

The grant's criteria are how committed the applicant is and also the scholars behind the applicant who are familiar with the project, DiPietro said.

“People don’t realize how Native Americans were involved with civil war," he said.

Boles said there is no official premiere date set, but it will premiere on WCMU.

Schock said $15,000 is a good start but is looking for more money to complete the film.

“It gets expensive for the time and equipment,” he said. “It would be helpful to raise some more. We’ve looked toward the tribes (for additional funding), but nothing yet.”



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