Cherokee Owned Company Wins National Award

CHEROKEE NATION SEAL Cherokee Nation News Release
(918) 456-0671, Ext. 2210 FAX (918)458-5580
Cherokee Nation Director of
© Cherokee Nation - All Rights Reserved

August 16, 2002

Cherokee Owned Company Wins National Award

DALLAS, TEXAS-- Rich-Heape Films and the Sovereign Nations Preservation Project (Sovereign Nations) today announced that they are partnering to produce a three part documentary on the Trail of Tears. The documentary will provide a history of the Cherokee Indians, their plight during the Trail of Tears and Cherokee life today.

In related news Rich-Heape announced that it most recent documentary film, Black Indians: An America Story, has been selected to receive the esteemed CINE Golden Eagle Award at the 44th Annual CINE Awards Event in February 2003 in Washington, DC. To date, Rich-Heape Films’ Black Indians: An American Story has received The Aurora Gold Award, Silver Omni, The Telly, The Communicator Award and the NAMMY for Best Short and Long Form Video at the Fourth Annual Native American Music Awards. Further adding to its list of honors, the film won “Best Documentary” awards from the Cinevue International Film, Video Festival and the Rhode Island Film Festival[VGC1] . The highly awarded documentary explores the issues of racial identity between Native and African Americans with narration by James Earl Jones and music from the Neville Brothers.

“Rich-Heape films holds the Sovereign Nations Preservation Project in the highest regard. The organization’s efforts are making a marked difference by helping creating awareness about the many difficult issues facing the modern American Indian,” said Steven R. Heape. “Our alliance will strengthen our film in many ways, and will also help us obtain additional funding to make the film possible. This project is especially close to me since I am an enrolled tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation.”

Sovereign Nations, a Dallas-based non-profit organization, and Rich-Heape Films will produce this three-part documentary on the Trail of Tears. This film will educate people on the forced Indian removal of 1838 through reenactments shot on location in Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas and North Carolina. Upon financing shooting is expected to begin spring 2003.

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) recently wrote a letter of support and national carriage for the three-part documentary. This letter of support from PBS will assure a corporate sponsor national broadcast.

What can you do to help?

Sovereign Nations is holding a benefit concert on November 16, 2002 in Dallas featuring the music of Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Coolidge and Laura Satterfield, “Walela” to raise funds for its many causes including this film project. In addition to this documentary, other projects in the works for Sovereign Nations include language programs to preserve some of the more than 500 Native American languages, many of which have already been lost forever. Other educational projects are also being discussed through this partnership to create a film on prevention of diabetes in Native Americans.

If you are interested in supporting the Trail of Tears project or want more information on events and activities held by Sovereign Nations Preservation Project, please visit


Rich-Heape Films is a Dallas based and Native American owned corporation. It was voted “American Indian Chamber of Commerce, Business of The Year” in 1999. The company has produced films such as Native American Healing in the 21st Century, How To Trace Your Native American Heritage, and Tales of Wonder Traditional Native American Stories for Children 1 and 2. For more information about Rich-Heape Films, please go to


The Sovereign Nations Preservation Project is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization established to create awareness about important issues facing American Indians today. Currently, Sovereign Nations is creating this type of media to educate everyone about the problems of today and most important the solutions for tomorrow. Sovereign Nations Preservation Project accepts and appreciates donations, which are tax deductible. For further information log on to there web site at or call 214-696-6916.

[VGC1] The film won best documentary from two film festivals, Cinevue International Film and Video Festival AND the Rhode Island Film Festival… any suggestions on how to make this less confusing?