At the beginning of February 2017, President Donald Trump directed a racially insensitive remark to Senator Elizabeth Warren when he rudely blurted out to Democratic senators in a meeting that “Pocahontas is now the face of your party.” Senator Al Franken said calling Senator Warren Pocahontas was “racist.”
Native American filmmakers and directors Georgina Lightning and Chris Eyre say President Trump’s misuse of the name Pocahontas when referring to a women of any race is rude and disrespectful to the legend of one of Indian country’ most historical iconic women.
Lightning and Eyre says this recent occurrence of calling Warren Pocahontas proves once again the need for the accurate retelling of Native history.
Lightning and Eyre say they are confident that in November, the Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival – Native American Storytellers, will ignite a critical need to produce historically correct content that will open dialogue and education of the true Native history that is long overdue.
“We sincerely feel the actions of our country’s president in calling Senator Warren Pocahontas are grossly unacceptable,” says Lightning.
“The slandering use of any of our historical iconic names is racist and a misappropriation of culture. I find it terribly offensive as a Native person.”
"Now, more than ever, this reinforces the need for Native filmmakers and storytellers to take control in the telling and retelling of accurate Native American and First Nations history as well as the Native contemporary story” said Lightning.
“We strongly feel the consistent racist behavior of our country’s president is severely unacceptable and he should be made accountable just as everyone else is.”
“Few people are aware that Pocahontas was a tragic figure in history. The conduct of President Trump demonstrates how ignorant and unaware people are in connection to this Native history," said Native filmmaker and director Chris Eyre.
“This festival will consist of many Native voices who will seek to address this gross misappropriation Georgina mentioned. The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival will serve as a vehicle to chip away at the continued ignorance faced by Native Americans and First Nations people,” says Eyre.
So far sponsors of the Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival include director Francis Ford Coppola, The Virginia Film Commision, Virginia Tourism and the American Indian Tribes of Virginia.
The organizers are now determined to garner the support of all the other tribes in North America and executives, producers and filmmakers in the Hollywood film industry.
“We hope that the public sees this support from the North American Indian tribes and from key players in the film industry such as Mr. Coppola, as a demonstration to the importance of sharing Native stories and culture,” says Lightning.
“The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival will be a place to hear these voices of Native storytellers.”
The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival – Native American Storytellers is scheduled for November 17-19, 2017 at the Historic Byrd Theater in Richmond, VA.
The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival – Native American Storytellers Board of Directors include:
Georgina Lightning - Cree of the Maskwacis Cree Nation
Award-winning Filmmaker / Actress / Writer
Chris Eyre - Cheyenne and Arapaho
Award-winning filmmaker / Producer / Director
Audrey Martinez - Serrano of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Exec. Producer and Co-founder of Tribal Alliance Productions
George Aguilar - Apache and Yaqui
International Actor / Stuntman / Board member of the French Film Festival in Richmond
Brad Brown - Pamunkey Indian Tribe
Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival – Native American Storytellers Website