2023 Writing

Student group photo

Ryan RedCorn Discusses His KU Experiences at Union Center, Confesses to Never Pay for Parking as a Student

By Zoey Four Bear

Ryan RedCorn paid a visit to the University of Kansas (KU) this past Tuesday evening, June 13, to speak regarding his experiences with photojournalism, studying at KU, and to show his 2022 short film, Dead Bird Hearts. The speech was held at the KU Memorial Union, and in attendance was the KU Native Storytelling Workshop. The workshop consists of Native American youth interested in Native journalism.

RedCorn started the keynote speech with a humble introduction. He spoke about his Osage heritage, his history with KU journalism, and how photography has long been in the family. RedCorn went on to present his photography portfolio. The portfolio included pictures of boarding school survivors, family, and his notable work on the FX hit-show, Reservation Dogs. 

 He showed much humor throughout the speech, especially directed towards the widely Native audience. RedCorn even went as far as cracking a joke about the Native Storytelling Workshop being late to the speech, “That’s how you know they’re Native, they’re running on Indian Time.” 

RedCorn also shared his adventures as a KU student, as he talked about his favorite professor Pok Chi Lau, who happened to be in attendance, and how he managed to evade paying for parking throughout his 4 years of study. 

Towards the end of the speech, he presented his 2022 short film, Dead Bird Hearts. The film was about an unemployed Indian man, trying to regain happiness and purpose after his girlfriend kicks him out, and his dog leaving him for said-girlfriend. The movie won a slough of awards, including Best Original Story at the Independent Shorts Awards, and is an official selection at the Tallgrass Film Festival. 

After the speech ended, RedCorn was seen talking fondly with Lau. It was visibly apparent the Native Storytelling Workshop participants were enthralled by his presentation and speech. This journalism and media presentation is one of many the young students will experience throughout the workshop.