What to My Wondering Eyes Should Appear, but a Miniature Sleigh, and Eight Tiny…Bison?
From "The Native American Night Before Christmas"
 A 5-minute film

by Carole Levine


     He goes by many names–Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and now, Redshirt. The mythical man who bestows gifts to children and the needy is timeless and cherished in European countries. But like any folk tale worth sharing, the legend enjoys adaptations unique to the cultures it serves. 

     Clement Moore’s classic A Visit from St. Nicholas has taken on a decidedly indigenous flavor in Gary Robinson’s new video storybook, A Native American Night Before Christmas. The partially animated short film, produced by Robinson’s Tribal Eye Productions, follows the story of Redshirt, a Native Santa on his Christmas Eve journey.  The vivid illustrations by Jesse Hummingbird show a whimsical Redshirt who instead of the familiar red cap sports a pippin’ headdress and has traded in Santa’s reindeer for bison.

redshirt with bison

     A Choctaw/ Cherokee, Robinson’s latest effort earned him a  nomination for Best Animation Short at the 2006 American Indian Film Festival. Although  A Native American Night Before Christmas  didn’t take home the top honors, it did receive the most enthusiastic audience response of films shown. Tall praise for  this video considering it was competing against fully animated productions. 

     With more than 20 years experience as an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Robinson is clearly pleased with the interest in his adapted tale and hopes to build off the success of his first children’s production. Next in line? …How the Indian Santa Claus came to be.  


The Native American Night Before Christmas

Old Red Shirt (The Indian Santa Claus) Price: $12.95
Writer & Producer: Gary Robinson
Illustrator: Jesse Hummingbird
Narrator: Harlan McKosato
Music: Jim Boyd

This amusing animated video storybook presents a whimsical look at what a Native American Christmas Eve might be like when Old Red Shirt (the Indian Santa Claus) comes a-calling with his team of flying white buffalo to deliver commodities, fry bread and other goodies. Based on an adaptation of the beloved Christmas classic "A Visit from St. Nicholas."

Nominated for the "Best Animated Short Film" at the 2006 American Indian Film Festival.
DVDs of A Native American Night Before Christmas are available from VisionMaker Video: www.visionmaker.org 
For more information on Gary Robinson’s Tribal Eye Productions, visit http://tribaleyeproductions.com

Messages from the People Native Village Home Page

Background: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/