SÁMI NATIONAL DAY IS FEB. 6
Online This Month
February sees Sámi National Day and the month-long observation in the U.S. of Black History Month, a fitting time to explore online programs on Black-Indigenous connections in arts, Futurisms, and activism. What to watch includes film festivals streaming internationally from Sápmi in Arctic Europe and, albeit regionally geoblocked, Tahiti, and a new documentary on interpreting Maya history on PBS. Denver’s Indigenous film and arts festival offers a program on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, and a month-long Wampanoag cultural festival is streaming from the National Museum of the American Indian. Other items include a focus on more music--Tanya Tagaq and NPR’s Tiny Desk, on Native theater podcasts, on awards and honors, and on professional transitions.
FILM FESTIVALS and SCREENINGS
Inari, Finland (320 km north of the Arctic Circle)
Jan. 27 - Feb. 6. Online with tickets or pass. Some programs are geoblocked
This international Festival, held each year in January, is the main forum for Sámi cinema and an annual meeting place for Indigenous peoples. This year all programs are online on Vimeo. The programming is outstanding, presenting Sámi and international Indigenous films. Listed here are only the programs that are streaming internationally, but consult the website for the other titles included this year but geoblocked. Tickets for online screenings are $8, with festival pass to all programs $80. A few events are free with a $1 donation suggested.
Feature Films (streaming internationally)
Arctic Mysteries Among Us-The Masked Man. 80 min. Greenland. Dir. Marc Fussing Rosbach (Inuk)
Food in Our Own Terms Food for the Rest of Us. 93 min. Canada. Dir. Caroline Cox
Memories from the Pacific Mo’ui Fa’ngata’a (Brutal Lives). 64 min. Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dir. Vela Manusaute (Niuean/Samoan)
Short Film Programs (streaming internationally)
From North to South. 78 min. 8 films from Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Sápmi.
Letting Go. 76 min. 8 films from Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Canada, US (Alaska)
An Air of Sápmi. 52 min. 6 films from Sápmi/Finland, Sápmi /Norway, Sápmi /Sweden
Voices of Sápmi. 50 min. 6 films from Sápmi /Finland, Sápmi /Norway, Sápmi /Sweden
Feb. 5 -13In-person in Tahiti and online regionally
The 19th year of this festival features outstanding documentary films from Polynesia and the large Pasifika region, including many premieres, and professional workshops. The screenings are geoblocked but the festival encourages following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
PBS' NOVA Ancient Maya Metropolis
Online and premiering on PBS stations in late January, a NOVA production demonstrates latest archeological technologies that can lead to a deeper understanding of Maya culture today and of the culture of the ancient Mayan cities. The episode shows the focus of current scholarship is on drawing better connection between past and present and, among other goals, countering the colonial narrative that minimized contemporary Mayan peoples. Archeologists speaking include Guatemalan archeologist Iyaxel Cojti Ren (Kiché Maya).
More Festivals with Indigenous Films - February
- Mother Tongue Film Festival. Feb. 17 - March 4. Free online
- Big Sky Documentary Festival. Feb. 18 - 27. Tickets. In-person in Missoula, Montana and online
INDIGENOUS CREATIVITY New Native Theatre, Hawaiian Steel Guitar, Wampanoag Community Arts, More Music
St. Paul, Minnesota
New Native Theatre has been producing the 10-Minute Play Festival in the Twin Cities since 2016. As they couldn't do it in person over the last 18 months, they decided to turn selected works from all the festivals into podcast audio plays and three are now available. NNT is a “dedicated anti-racist, anti-colonial organization that believes theatre is one of the most powerful tools for reclaiming resilience, health, and agency for indigenous tribal communities.”
Indigenous Film & Arts Festival
International Indigenous Institute for Resource Management presented with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Hawaiian Steel Guitar: An Evening with Alan Akaka
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. MT
Live demonstration and discussion on Zoom. Free but RSVP is required to get the link. Register here.
For an introduction to the program, watch a three-minute film clip about Joseph Kekuku, credited with inventing the Hawaiian steel guitar. The clip is shared by BBC Music.
In this live Zoom program, Alan Akaka, a renowned Hawaiian steel guitarist and educator, will discuss the history, science, culture and influence of Hawaiian steel guitar, and provide music. Among his many accomplishments, Alan teamed up with Asher Guitar to produce his modern day Signature Model 8-String Hawaiian steel guitar. The discussion will be moderated by Mervyn Tano, President of IIIRM. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World.
Feb. 1 - 28
Citizens of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in Massachusetts share their culture and history in a virtual celebration of food, art, traditional stories.
Screening: King Philip’s Belt – A Story of Wampum 20 min. Dir. Fermin Rojas
- Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) on the history of the Wampanoag
- Marlene Lopez, fingerweaving
- Darius Coombs, Muhsh8n boat building
- Tobias Vanderhoop, storytelling
- Jonathan Perry, traditional copper work
- Berta Welch, contemporary jewelry making
- Chef Sherry Pocknett, cooking demonstration
- Paula Peters and Linda Coombs, a conversation on a new community wampum belt
Tanya Tagaq releases Tongues
“Tanya Tagaq’s powerful new album 'Tongues' aims for hope among hard truths” by Rachel Martin, NPR’s Listening Booth, Jan. 26, 2022. Tagaq, a recipient of the Canadian national Polaris Music Prize, discusses the subjugation of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and her hopes for healing through acknowledging that difficult history.
“Tanya Tagaq’s Experimental Inuit Throat Singing” by Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, Jan. 26, 2022. The Canadian Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq makes music that seems to cleanse the body… in the course of her career, Tagaq, an advocate for Indigenous rights and cultural practices, has updated the exercise to include drums, electronica, and even spoken-word poetry. It is her technique and vision that have made her one of the most celebrated and innovative practitioners of her culture’s visceral style.
Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST Kombilesa Mí, Northern Cree, Son Rompe Pera
National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk has been working from home since March 2020 to bring performances from across the country and the world. Hosted by Bob Boilen (pre-pandemic at his desk at NPR), these new episodes have the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — although they're performed at their own spaces. The following biographical information about each performer was written by the globalFEST team.
- Kombilesa Mi. Born from the rich musical and historical heritage of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia (the first free Black town in the Americas), Kombilesa Mí fuses the traditional sounds of the community with urban pop. The band's members experiment with the instruments created by their ancestors (and introduced to them when they were young) by layering them between new sounds.Over traditional percussion, metal handmade drums of their own design, and marímbula, Kombilesa Mí rhymes and raps in Spanish and the traditional Palenquero language--a fusion of African Bantu, Portuguese, French and English. During the performance, you'll hear them call their music "RFP," which means Rap Folklórico Palenquero, a combo of cumbia, son de negro, mapalé and son palenquero.
- Northern Cree is a powwow and round dance act, based in Maskwacis, Alberta, Canada. Formed in 1982 by the Wood brothers – Steve, Randy, Charlie and Earl Wood of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation – most members originate from the Treaty 6 and are members of the Cree Nation. This year marks Northern Cree's 40th birthday as a group. Northern Cree has recorded 50 albums and been nominated for a GRAMMY nine times. They made history in 2017 when they became the first powwow group to perform at the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. They recorded this performance at the powwow arbor of the Tsuut'ina Nation.
- Son Rompe Pera Born and raised in the deep outskirts of Mexico City, the three Gama brothers are keeping alive the rich legacy of marimba music running through their family. Originally performing alongside their father at local events as kids, they now find themselves at the forefront of the contemporary international cumbia scene with their sonic explorations of the classic marimba.From the Salón Los Ángeles in Mexico City, this quintet urges listeners to their feet with their unique style of garage-marimba-cumbia rock, played on the historic marimba like no one has ever heard or seen before.
FEBRUARY IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH
imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts
A conversation on Afro-Indigenous representation in film and TV, the complexities and beauty of A-I stories, and the future of A-I storytelling. Live on Facebook on Oct. 24, 2021.
- Adeline Bird (Rolling River First Nation) is an author, filmmaker, and producer who grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Adeline sits on the Visioning Committee of BIPOC TV & Film and is an advocate and thought leader in the ongoing discussions on equity & inclusion in the Canadian media industry.
- Chad Charlie (Ahousaht First Nation) is an Afro-Indigenous filmmaker. Beginning his career in 2008 as a stand-up comedian and spoken word artist, he is currently writing for the television series Reservation Dogs.
- Tina Lameman is an African-Canadian/Cree actress who grew up on the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Northeast Alberta, Canada.
Intersecting past/future narratives, this conversation brings together Indigenous, Afro-Indigenous, and Black artists around “disruptive recountings, future tellings to witness current intersections of Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurisms.” Zainab Amadahy, Syrus Marcus Ware, Nisi Shawl, and Asinnajaq discuss creative resiliency, cultural thrivance, and the imagined future within their practices, in a conversation moderated by Jessie Ray Short. Live on Facebook on April 15, 2021.
Of interest: In February and March Carnegie Hall presents a city-wide Afrofuturism calendar of events in New York City.
Landback U is a free comprehensive online learning platform to engage in political education and discussions on topics critical to our movement to reclaim land and our relationship to land. It is a program of NDN Collective, an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. "Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms."
Black Indigeneity - Module 1 (Recorded live on Dec. 21, 2021)
- Amber Starks is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and a Black American. She is currently In Residence at the University of Oregon’s Common Reading* program, exploring the intersections of Indigenous and Black concerns, what can dismantle the beliefs that drive anti-blackness and redress the damage wrought by settler colonialism.
- Dr. Kyle Mays is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and History at UCLA. He is the author of Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America (SUNY Press, 2018). He is currently finishing--forth-coming with Beacon Press--An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States, which will be a part of their ReVisioning American History series.
FILM AND TELEVISION AWARDS
2022 Sundance Film Festival Awards
Jury and Audience Awards were announced for works in the Festival, one with an Indigenous director and two more also with Indigenous themes.
- Short Film Grand Jury Award: The Headhunter’s Daughter/Hila ti Mengor Philippines. Dir and screenwriter: Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan (Ifugao and Visayan). Leaving her family behind, Lynn traverses the harrowing roads of the Cordilleran highlands to try her luck in the city as a country singer, and seeing it from the eyes of an Indigenous person.
- Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema: Dramatic: Utama. Bolivia/Uruguay/ France. Dir and screenwriter: Alejandro Loayza Grisi, A quietly elegiac feature debut focuses on an elderly couple in the Altiplana of Bolivia who refuse to relocate to the nearby city of La Paz, even as mountain glaciers melt, rains become less reliable, and their herd of llamas slowly succumb to dehydration.
- Audience Award in World Cinema Documentary: The Territory. Brazil/ Denmark/United States. Dir: Alex Pritz. In the battle to protect their territory in the Amazon rainforest, the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people really only have one significant weapon in their arsenal: media attention. Without it, landgrabbers will keep penetrating further into their land in the Brazilian state of Rondônia.
American Film Institute's 2021 Top 10 TV Shows
In December the American Film Institute revealed its Top 10 TV shows of the year in handing out its annual AFI Awards, with HBO’s Emmy-winning Succession part of an eclectic list that includes Emmy winner Ted Lasso from Apple TV+, as well as Disney+'s WandaVision, FX’s Reservation Dogs, and Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad from Amazon.
AWARDS FOR THINKERS AND CREATORS
On Jan. 26 the 2022 United States Artists Fellowships were announced. USA Fellowships are nominated grants for $50,000. The awards are unrestricted, given in recognition of the awardees for their contributions to the field. All together 63 thinkers and creators were chosen, both individuals and collectives, who represent communities across 23 states and Puerto Rico/Borikén and illuminate a breadth of artistic practices.
This year’s selection includes 15 artists enrolled in tribal nations or with Indigenous heritage, or who are Indigenous knowledge advocates.
- Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe) artist, writer
- Melissa Cody (Navajo) textile art
- Jorge González Santos from Borikén/Puerto Rico, installation artist, educator, Indigenous knowledge advocate
- Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida) beadwork
- Las imaginistas (various Indigenous/Latinx backgrounds) “Sociocultural Cyborgs for Nature & Collective Liberation” artist collective
- Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) musician, composer
- Qacungi (Yup’ik, African-American) Indigenous musician
- Martha Redbone (Cherokee/Choctaw, African-American) vocalist, songwriter, composer, educator
- Rosy Simas (Seneca) transdisciplinary and dance artist
- DeLanna Studi (Cherokee) actor, playwright, artistic director, advocate
- Marty Two Bulls, Jr. (Oglala Sioux) interdisciplinary artist
- Peter Williams (Yup’ik) culture bearer, artist, designer, educator
On January 27, FCA announced its 2022 nominated grants awarded to 20 creators in music/sound, performance art/theater, poetry and the visual arts. The artists are nominated for the grants, which are awarded by a jury. that directly support individual artists working in dance, music/sound, performance art/theater, poetry, and the visual arts. FCA was created in 1963 and sustained by artists to benefit artists. To fund the program, more than 1,000 artists have contributed paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, performances, and videos. This year three Indigenous artists and one Indigenous heritage advocate are among the fellows selected.
- Raven Chacon (Navajo), music/sound
- Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache), music/sound
- Cedar Sigo (Suquamish), poetry
- Susie Ibarra composer, percussionist, sound artist, Indigenous knowledge advocate
Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program has announced the recipient of the 2022 Merata Mita Fellowship, an annual fellowship named in honor of the late Māori filmmaker Merata Mita (1942-2010) designed for Indigenous women-identified artists who are striving to direct a feature film. This year’s Fellow, Fox Maxy (Payómkawichum and Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians) was recognized at the Native Forum Celebration on the Festival Online Platform during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and can be streamed here.
The Foundation has awarded Katja Gauriloff (Skolt Sámi) €800,000 of production support for her film Je’vida, co-written with Sami artist Niillas Holmberg, the story of the life of a young Skolt Sámi woman. This will be the first feature in the Skolt Sámi language.
Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo) has been named director of the National Museum of the American Indian, the third director in its history, and the first Native woman to head a Smithsonian museum. She will assume her new role on Valentine’s Day. Since last year, Chavez Lamar, who is also of Hopi, Navajo, and Tewa descent, had served as acting associate director for collections and operations for the museum. She oversaw the museum's collections, facilities, safety and information technology departments. In addition to the museum’s collection of objects and photographs, she was in charge of more than 500,000 digitized images, films and other media documenting Native communities, events and organizations.
Chavez Lamar previously worked for NMAI from 2000 to 2005 as an associate curator. After leaving to hold a variety of positions, including those of director of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque and of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she returned to the museum in 2014 as an assistant director of collections. In this capacity, she worked to make the institution’s holdings more accessible and to build relationships with Indigenous communities.
Dr. Teresa (Terri) Peterson (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) has been named program manager of the NDN Foundation where she will lead the planning and implementation of the newly announced $50 million Community Trust grant initiative from the Bush Foundation, for regrants to Indigenous nations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Terri holds an EdD from University of Minnesota-Duluth and has taught in the Yellow Medicine School District, the Indigenous-led charter school Eci Numpa Woonspe, and at the University of Minnesota at Morris. She is a former elected Tribal leader of Upper Sioux and tribal planner for Lower Sioux. Terri also founded and led Dakota Wicohan, an Indigenous-led community based nonprofit.