The life of historic Chickasaw rancher Montford Johnson inspired the feature film, “Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher,” which can currently be viewed on Netflix. Along with the feature film, Chickasaw Nation Productions produced “Montford: An Original Brand.” This 48-minute documentary is now available on DVD at select locations within the Chickasaw Nation and online.
Narrated by Peter Coyote, the Chickasaw Heritage Series documentary follows Johnson, his family and his associates as they build their cattle operations from the ground up. “Montford: An Original Brand” offers a distinctive perspective into the life of one of Oklahoma’s great cattlemen. Johnson was known across the region as a fair and successful businessperson.
They can also be purchased online at ChickasawPress.com.
The Chickasaw Nation also released educational materials based on Johnson’s life. This curriculum can be used to supplement the educational impact and accompany the documentary. The material is designed to provide learning opportunities for elementary and secondary students, telling the story of the Chickasaw people through their own words and experiences.
“The Chickasaw Nation produces feature films, documentaries and school curriculum to tell the story of how Chickasaws have impacted events in world history. Being able to talk about events from the Chickasaw point of view using film is powerful,” Philip Sullivan, director of video production at the Chickasaw Nation, said. “Teachers are already using the supplemental curriculum that we offer. Teachers will be able to complement ‘Montford: An Original Brand’ with the curriculum provided.”
“Montford: An Original Brand” and curriculum are part of the Heritage Series produced by the Chickasaw Nation. Other productions in the Chickasaw Heritage Series and corresponding curricula include “First Encounter,” “Pearl Carter Scott: On Top of the World” and “Bearer of the Morning: The Life of Te Ata Thompson Fisher.”
Chickasaw historians, researchers, archaeologists, tribal elders and educators contributed to the writing process of the documentaries and teaching plans. Each film focuses on a specific event or individual throughout the Chickasaw Nation’s history. Corresponding curriculum is complete with tailored reading material, discussion questions, student activities, quizzes and references for convenience.
“It’s great that the Chickasaw Nation is creating curriculum,” said Bernadette Ward of Tulsa’s Will Rogers College High and Junior High School during a 2019 conference introducing Chickasaw curriculum. “Having lived in Oklahoma, and surrounded by so many different (First American) nations, it’s important that people know about them. Students need to know where and how this state was created and where we came from. We are surrounded by great cultures; we have to hear from them.”
Each curriculum is aligned with the Oklahoma Academic Standards as outlined in the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s 2014 Social Studies guide. The documentaries and teaching plans introduce students to significant Chickasaw events that impacted world history and historic sites in Oklahoma and beyond.
The curriculum can be obtained at no charge at Chickasawfilms.com/Education.
About Chickasaw Nation Productions
Chickasaw Nation Productions was established in 2009 as a result of Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby’s vision to develop film production to preserve the stories of the Chickasaw people.
The goal of Chickasaw Nation Productions is to educate audiences by producing feature films and documentaries with accurate, positive portrayals of Chickasaw people, history and culture.
Each film illustrates how Chickasaw culture played an important role in the lives of the individuals and events portrayed in the films, and how those individuals and events influenced the world around them.
Chickasaw Nation Productions’ movies and documentaries can be purchased in Ada, Oklahoma, at the Chickasaw Market located at 105 W. Main, and the Chickasaw Press, 1020 N. Mississippi Ave.