“During this time of spiraling climate change and other forms of chaos in the world, the medicine of Indigenous arts is needed more than ever.” - Tina Kuckkahn, Ojibwe,
VISIONS OF NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE
Why not take time this week to watch Native American film productions and to talk about what you watched with family and friends. With Thanksgiving, it is worthwhile bringing to the family table or Zoom toast a reflection on the connection often drawn this week/month to America’s Indigenous peoples and to encourage each other to expand your vision to see what it means to you and to others that we all are in fact living on original Indigenous lands, and that the “First Americans” have an ancient knowledge base and a long history of resilience from which to draw ideas and inspiration for the future.
Nov. 22 premiers on PBS. Local broadcast, online, PBS app, PBS Passport
A documentary about Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Oscar-winning Indigenous artist, from her rise to prominence in New York’s Greenwich Village folk music scene through her six-decade groundbreaking career as a singer-songwriter, social activist, educator and artist.
Available to stream on Netflix in US, iTunes in US/UK/Canada, Amazon in US/UK, and Vimeo on Demand in the rest of the world.
Gather Feature documentary. US. Sanjay Rawal. This is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. The film follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river.
Watch the film from the website. Rental $4.99. Purchase $9.99
Inhabitants: Indigenous Perspectives on Restoring Our World Feature documentary. US. Costa Boutsikaris. Karuk knowledge of fire management is returning to the landscape. Their story, along with those of other Native American communities, are told through a series of interviews and beautifully shot depictions of the vastly different landscapes of the continent, and beyond, and focus on tribal traditions of land management and sustainability. In addition to the Karuk, we’re invited to learn about the traditions of Hopi dryland farming in Arizona; restoring buffalo to the Blackfeet reservation in Montana; maintaining sustainable forestry on the Menominee reservation in Wisconsin; and reviving native food crops in Hawaii.
Land Back is a global movement aims to reclaim ancestral lands in order to restore Indigenous governance over them. In other words, it is an effort to get Indigenous land back to Indigenous people. The concept has existed for generations, and current efforts have caught more attention on social media in the last five years, particularly after the No Access Dakota Pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Reservation. The organization NDN has created a Land Back Manifesto (see links below)
Above the Noise | "How Indigenous Communities Are Fighting Climate Change" Season 6, Episode 10. Streaming on YouTube.
A brief, lively and fact-filled episode in this series explores the significance of Indigenous lands from an Indigenous perspective--that all land and all inhabitants deserve protection-- and the possibility of land management returned to the tribes that were originally located there. With Chey Bearfoot (Chiricahua Apache), Karina Gold of the Sagorea Te’ Land Trust in the Bay Area of California. Host for Above the Noise is Myles Bess.
And it proposes that Indigenous land stewardship practices can help mitigate climate change. The Indigenous Environmental Network and Oil Change International discovered that Indigenous-led actions against fossil fuel projects in the US and Canada have prevented or delayed a quarter of annual carbon dioxide emissions from both countries. Additional research shows that lands managed by Indigenous communities in Brazil, Australia, and Canada are equally and sometimes even MORE biodiverse than special conservation lands managed by the governments.
On PBS.org until Nov. 29. Local broadcast. Online on PBS app, PBS Passport
Groundworks Feature documentary. US. Justine Garrett, Ian Garrett. Inspired by the contemporary dance company Dancing Earth Creations, this chronicles the multidecade fight for Native people’s rights and land reclamation efforts through the Land Back Movement. Woven into the documentary are the stories of the artists and activists and performances by Ras K’dee (Pomo), Bernadette Smith (Pomo), Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Ohlone), and L. Frank (Tongva-Acjachemen).
Check for local listings for these films on World Channel, and online with the PBS app and at PBS.org
This webpage has links to information about some excellent and varied documentaries to watch until the end of this Native American Heritage Month. They can be seen in various ways, some broadcast on World Channel, others online with PBS app and at PBS.org, or with PBS Passport, and include such recent and important titles as Blood Memory, Sisters Rising, and Daughter of a Lost Bird. A filmmakers’ panel discussing impact of boarding schools, adoption, and the need for repatriation explored in these films is also streaming on this site
Online Panel Discussion
"Returning Home Through Togetherness: Healing from Historical Trauma" Join Sandy White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota), Anitra Warrior (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma) and Drew Nicholas for a discussion exploring the effects of historical trauma endured by the Native American community in boarding schools and through adoption and repatriation. Moderated by journalist and media critic Jenni Monet (Laguna Pueblo). Presented by a partnership of WORLD Channel, America ReFramed and Vision Maker Media.
Cooking connects three Native chefs to their own histories. Watch as they teach others in their communities with mouth-watering delicacies. Each Episode is about 6 min. long.
Episodes 1 & 2 Chef Brian Yazzie (Diné) does presentations demonstrating Native cooking across the US while mentoring Native youth. Using modern techniques with Indigenous ingredients, he preps dishes like sumac duck confit with acorn squash, mushroom and sunflower shoots, turnips and sunchoke puree, and his very popular wild rice bowl. And he is asked to present a community tasting menu
Episodes 3 & 4 Young chef Kalā Domingo, a culinary student in Hawai’i, gives Hawaiian kids a taste of traditional food, showing them its source, and making the whole pig come together in an imu, an underground steam cooker. He cooks with his caterer father to make dishes for an Indigenous conference in Maui and a reception in Oahu, including Hō'i'o/Pohole salad, 'uala (Hawaiian sweet potato), kimchi, a delicious version of traditional poi, and a poke using fresh local ingredients.
Episode 5 Seattle-based Chef Hillel Echo-Hawk focuses on traditional Pawnee foods, before Columbus and colonization, which means no dairy, no chicken, no processed sugar. Her all-Native catering company prepares for its largest gig ever, but after a late night of work, zero sleep, and everything going wrong, will Hillel and her team be able to pull the event off?
Episode 6 All three Indigenous chefs featured in alter-NATIVE: Kitchen come together to prepare a multi-course meal of Native cuisine for a select group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Los Angeles, from Brian's agave-roasted rabbit tacos to Kalā's imu-cooked kalua pork to Hillel's painted like a Pawnee horse black bean salad. And just wait until you get to these talented chefs' dessert trio.
FILM SERIES and FESTIVALS
Hemispheric Institute at NYU
Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Indigenous Cinema ’22 | “Images to Postpone the End of the World”
Nov. 11-Dec. 12. Free with registration. Online at HemiTV, a portal available on all platforms and devices. Registrants will receive a link to access the films once the event starts.
On five consecutive weekends in November and December, NYU's Hemi Institute and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian are presenting online the annual Indigenous Cinema Film Series, curated by Amalia Cordova, Supervisory Curator for World Cultures and Chair of Cultural Research and Education at the Folklife Center
Week 3: Fri, Nov. 25, 12 noon EST - Mon, Nov. 28, 12 midnight. Free with registration. Online.
Sin Combate Argentina. María Manzanares. In Mapudungun with Spanish subtitles. Inspired by the Mapuche creation story,Treng Treng y Kay Kay, which tells of the constant struggle to keep equilibrium between Treng Treng, who embodies the earth, and Kay Kay, who is the embodied form of water.
Warmi Luna-Gunaa Sol Ecuador. Frida Muenala (Kichwa, Zapotec). In Spanish with English subtitles. Exploring the feelings of Kichwa women in Otavalo in the face of the way Western thought constructs their identity.
Fôlego Vivo Brazil. Juma Jandaira and Associação dos Índios Cariris do Poço Dantas-Umari. In Portuguese with subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese. Kariri people, located in the Chapada do Araripe, a rural area in northeastern Brazil, reflect on their San Francisco River. The Indigenous account is about recreation of the world with water, and contrasts completely with the viewpoint of the developers of controlling water and the human and non-humans who inhabit it.
Last Day! Nov 25. Free. Online. Some films have limits on amount of viewers and require registration.
Bootlegger Narrative feature. Canada, 2021, 81 min. Caroline Monnet (Anishinaabe/French) Registration is required and is limited to 800 viewers. For Mature Audiences: Contains coarse language and brief nudity. Two radically opposed women divide their community into two sides over the free sale of alcohol, confronting each other to determine the best path to independence.
Daughter of a Lost Bird Documentary US. Brooke Pepion Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish) An adult Native adoptee reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage, and confronts issues of her own identity. Preceded by SŪKŪJULA TEI (Stories of My Mother) and Nahasdzáán (Earth).
Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting Documentary. US. Aviva Kempner, Ben West. Registration is required and is limited to 1000 viewers.A comprehensive examination of the movement to eradicate the words, images, and gestures that many Native Americans and their allies find demeaning and offensive.
Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy Documentary. Canada. Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. An intimate portrait of survival, love, and the collective work of healing in the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta, a Blackfoot community facing the impacts of substance use and a drug-poisoning epidemic.
Portraits from a Fire Narrative. Canada. Trevor Mack. A coming-of-age tale about inherited trauma, family, acceptance, and defiance.
Warrior Spirit Narrative. US. Langston Dyksterhouse For Mature Audiences: Contains triggering scenes of rapid weight loss. A shocking exposé on the extreme weight-cutting measures motivated by the UFC
“A Conversation with Jeff Barnaby, Mi'kmaq (1976–2022)” A conversation with Blood Quantum film director, Jeff Barnaby, recorded for Native Cinema Showcase 2020.
Short Film Programs
Emergence Shorts Program
Stories of how the past can help us navigate an uncertain future.
Future-Focused Shorts Program
Family-friendly short films that are fun for kids of all ages.
Rise Above Shorts Program
These shorts focus on the realities of rising above adversity and learning life’s lessons.
Twisted Tales Shorts Program
Shorts that invite viewers into spooky, creepy, and unfamiliar tales from an Indigenous perspective.
Last day! Nov. 27. Tickets. Online.
Online in Hawai’i only
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon Feature animation. Brazil. Jose Zelada, Richard Klaus. An Indigenous environmental film for all ages. Ainbo lives in a village in the deepest jungle of the Amazon. After the death of her mother she finds she must fight to save her paradise against greed and exploitation by illegal miners. And she also struggles to reverse this destruction and the impending evil of the Yacaruna, a darkness that lives in the Amazon. Guided by her mother’s spirit, Ainbo is determined to save her people’s land before it’s too late.
Online in US only
Ka Pō Narrative feature. Hawai’i. Etienne Aurelius. Prods: Chelsea Winstanley, Mojean Aria, Etienne Aurelius. In the mountains of Kauai, a drug addicted native Hawaiian woman, Nanea, is living with her mother. On the night of her mother’s funeral, she reaches a breaking point and flees into the surrounding forest, escaping into midnight. Now on the run, she encounters a the mythical Yahdella who sends her on a soul-searching journey.
Three Short Films | World Premieres. Online in US only. Past. Future. Forward: The Making of a Hawaiian Videogame Jason Edward Lewis, Prem Sooriyakumar. With multilayered interplay between language, cultural practices and new technologies, this follows a workshop designed to teach Kanaka Maoli youth how to draw upon their storytelling traditions to make a videogame. Ke Kahea: An Invitation into Sacred Space Justyn Ah Chong. After receiving a kahea (calling) from ancestral lineages on Maui to create kapa for unearthed iwi (skeletal remains), cultural practitioner A’ia’I Bello extended the kahea to her circle of women in the community. The Last Rodeo Liz Barney, Alison Week. La’i Bertlemann grapples with whether to accept a full-ride scholarship to a big university on the mainland or stay home in Hawai’i to study her culture and spend time with her aging Grandfather. As a direct descendant from a long line of Paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboys, she has the unique opportunity to continue her family’s tradition. Or to pursue the education now open
FESTIVALS and SCREENINGS
In-Person in NYC, US Nationwide
Tues, Nov. 22, 6:00 pm EST. Free. In-person at La Nacional in New York City, with sponsored cocktail reception
Los guardianes del maíz (Keepers of the Corn) Documentary feature. Mexico. Gustavo Vasquez Orozco. In Zapotec, Chinantec, Spanish, English. The importance of heritage practices based on local environments and the vital knowledge of Indigenous farmers, and the investigations of agricultural scientists, is explored in a highly informative documentary filmed in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Central to this are seed exchange gatherings, venues for trading seeds, knowledge and experience, that have taken place in small villages in these highlands for thousands of years–a story of collective labor spanning more than 350 generations. Celebrate Mexico Now is a festival of contemporary and traditional music, performance, programs for children that runs in New York Nov 14-27.
Nov. 20, 2022-Jan. 20, 2023
Utama Bolivia, Uruguay, France. Alejandro Loayza Grisi. Bolivia’s beautiful Oscar submission is about an Indigenous couple in the Bolivian highlands facing the struggles of a drought, and the new perspectives brought by their grandson who comes to them from the city. It is playing in theaters in 13 cities in the US between Nov 20 and Jan 20. Many of these are for limited runs, and all are listed on the website of the film’s distributor, KinoLorber. The film is spoken in Quechua in its entirety, with English subtitles.
Nov. 25 – Dec. 11. Tickets. In-person in New York City
This year’s festival features screenings of 2 Indigenous films at Cinema Village in NYC.
Fri, Nov. 25. Loimata: The Sweetest Tears Feature documentary. New Zealand/Samoa. Ann Marbrook. The redemptive tale of waka builder and captain Lilo Ema Slope’s final year, her family confronting intergenerational trauma and responding to it with unconditional love.
Mon, Tues, Dec. 5, 6. Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On Feature documentary. Canada. Madison Thomas. The life, music and activism of legendary singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree).
In-Person in Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela
2 current, 2 completed
14th CLACPI Fiesta del cine y la comunicación de los Pueblos Ancestrales / Film and Video Festival of the Original Peoples
Nov. 21-25. In Quito, preceded by community screenings outside of the city.
CLACPI (Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Cine y Comunicación de los Pueblos Indígenas) promotes community-based media, particularly video production, as a way to preserve and enhance indigenous cultures from their own point of view and is an organization supported by Indigenous organizations throughout Latin America.
The festival has been organized since1985 about every two years. What makes this festival very special is that it each time it is planned and produced in a different country by that country’s Indigenous organizations, making its screenings and workshop events available not only to the entire international Indigenous film community, but to diverse Latin American community audiences as well. Previous festivals have been in México (1985, 2006), Brazil (1987), Venezuela (1990), Peru (1992), Bolivia (1996, 2008), Guatemala (1999), Wallmapu Chile (2004), Ecuador (2010) and Colombia (2012).
Nov. 28-Dec. 11. In Arica, Chile’s northernmost city
A catalog with descriptions of the films is available for viewing on the website. This Festival screens both feature length and short films in several categories. For example, environmental films and the two categories below.
Rural Feature Films The stories and images of rural worlds, of the cultural landscape of people living life outside of cities.
- La danza de Los Mirlos Peru. Álvaro Luque
- Manco Cápac Peru. Henry Vallejo
- Al amparo del cielo Chile. Diego Acosta
- El gran movimiento Bolivia, France, Qatar, Switzerland. Kiro Russo
Jallalla Feature Films Works that have been directed, produced and/or written by filmmakers from Indigenous cultures which make visible their own perspective on their history, customs, rights, territories, languages and traditions
- Pachuka Peru. Tito Catacora
- Cruz Mexico. Teresa Camou Guerrero
- Cam: liberar una nación Chile. Edgard Wang Saldaña
- Eami Paraguay, Argentina. Paz Encina
Oct. 20-26 in Belém, Pará, in northern Brazil
The festival is an initiative of the Visual Anthropology Research Group that showcases films that are concerned with contemporary issues about peoples, social groups, historical processes, and topics of anthropological interest. It took place virtually and in person, offering awards for short, medium and feature-length films The Jean Rouch Awards, named for a prominent figure in experimental visual ethnography, are given for ethnographic film. The Divino Tserewahu Awards are for Indigenous cinema, named in honor of the highly-regarded Xavante filmmaker. This year a third award was created to honor the memory of the influential Brazilian visual anthropologist Patricia Monte-Mor, and is concerned with films about popular culture.
The 2022 Divino Tsrewahu Awards
Feature Film Winner O Ultimo Sonho/The Last Dream 2021. Brazil. Alberto Guaraní
Honorable Mention Regresando a la Tierra 2020. Bolivia. Colectivo Production of CAIB y CEFREC
Medium Length Film Winner Ibirapema 2022. Brazil. Olinda Muniz Silva Wanderley
Honorable Mention ZAWXIPERKWER-Guardioes da Floresta/Keepers of the Forest 2019. Brazil. Joey Guajajara, Milson Guajajara
Short Film, Winner Mãtãnãg, A Encantada/ Mãtãnãg,The Enchanted 2019 Brazil Shawara Maxakali, Charles Bicalho
Honorable Mention Pān Vanh - Rastros: Video-Carta para meu avô/Pãn Vanh - Tracks: Video Letter for My Grandfather 2021 Brazil. Orlando Mongconãnn, Ítalo Mongconãnn
Nov. 17-19. In-person in communities in Venezuela
This year’s Wayuu Film and Video Festival featured films focused on childhood. The festival began in 2008 as an initiative of filmmakers worried about not having spaces for dissemination and exhibition of their work in La Guajira. The Wayuu Women's Force Organization and the Jain Wain’juin Audiovisual Foundation (Venezuela) joined together to create this, led by filmmakers David Hernández Palmar, Miguel Iván Ramírez and Leiqui Uriana. The first cycle of Wayuu cinema was screened on the wall of the town of Uribia, and at that moment a space was opened, where communities, audiences, and the general public could come together to see films and filmmakers and to recognize the strength of having films in which Wayuu are telling their own stories.
Fri, Nov. 25 Free. In-person in Washington D.C. 11:00, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30
Demonstration by five-time world champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan (San Carlos Apache, Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara)
Fri, Nov. 25 Free. In-person in NYC. 11:00, 1:00, 2:30, 4:00
Demonstration by top ranked hoop dancer Joseph Secody (Navajo) who has performed at the Dubai World Expo and the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest in Phoenix
Fri, Nov. 25. 11-11:30 and 1 - 1:30. Free. In-person in Washington, DC
Storyteller Dovie Thomason (Lakota, Kiowa Apache) shares traditional stories about animals and hero/tricksters that provide a clearer understanding of the values and cultures of the diverse First Nations of North America.
READING ABOUT, TALKING ABOUT
"Do We Have the History of Native Americans Backward?" by David Treuer in The New Yorker, Nov. 14, 2022. Pekka Hämäläinen’s Indigenous Continent boldly sets out a counternarrative. In its opening pages, Hämäläinen—a Helsinki-born scholar at Oxford who specializes in early and Indigenous American history—maintains that the America we know was, in its borders, shape, and culture, far from inevitable. Even after the so-called colonial era, tribal nations often played a determining role in American history. In his view, we should speak not of “colonial America” but of “an Indigenous America that was only slowly and unevenly becoming colonial,” and recognize that the central reality of the period was ongoing Indigenous resistance.
Wed, Nov. 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m. EST. Tickets. In-person in NYC
In 1962 Yale University art historian George Kubler published The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things, a book that challenged traditional notions of style and period in art history. This panel brings together anthropologist and Indigenous visual culture specialist Aaron Glass, NYC historical archaeologist Meredith B. Linn, historian of Chinese art and material culture François Louis and African and Black diaspora visual and material culture historian Drew Thompson —all members of the BGC faculty—to explore The Shape of Time across geographical and disciplinary boundaries and to rediscover insights it offers for material culture and object-oriented scholarship. Moderated by Joshua Massey and Jeffrey I. Collins.
AWARDS AND HONORS
United States Artists
2022 Berresford Prize
United States Artists has awarded its Berresford Prize to Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) for the Birchbark Books and Native Arts, the bookstore that she founded in 2001. This annual award is given to people who have supported other artists and writers in their work, and Birchbark serves as a gathering place for the Indigenous literary and arts community in Minneapolis, and an inspiration to other Indigenous gatherings worldwide. Erdrich has written 28 books of poetry, novels and children’s stories. In 2021 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for her novel, The Night Watchman, based on the life of her grandfather who fought against the dispossession of his people, which is peopled with a lively community whose various stories create a world. In addition, Erdrich’s most recent novel, The Sentence, is a story focused on a member of the staff of an Indigenous-owned bookshop in Minneapolis, and her act of coming to terms with multiple layers of the past.
NDN Radical Imagination Grants
This grant is open to artists, culture bearers, and storytellers who are Indigenous to Turtle Island (Canada, US, Mexico) and surrounding island nations (Hawai’I, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands. This 2022cohort members focus on music, visual art, graphic design, illustration aand animation, poetry, fiber art, storytelling and more.
- Daniel Cespedes (Chamoru)
- Chad Martin (Kanaka Maoli)
- Josué Rivas (Mexican, Otomí)
- Hubert Martínez Calleja (Mè’phàà (Tlapanec))
- Larry McNeil (Tlingit, Nisgáa)
- Marques Marzan (Kanaka Hawai’i)
- Gabriela Spears-Rico (Pirinda, P’urhepecha)
- Cesar Hernandez Andres (Ngigua - Chocholtec)
- Hāwane Rios (Kanaka Maoli)
- Miguel Ventura (Mexican, Yucatec Maya)
Art Omi | Francis J. Greenburger Award
Anita Fields (Osage), Oklahoma-born multidisciplinary artist, is one of five extraordinary artists who received this award last month. Fields’ work in clay and textiles draws upon Osage knowledge systems and has been featured in many museum exhibitions. Presented at The New Museum by Art Omi, the bi-annual Francis J. Greenburger Award is an unrestricted prize that honors five established artists whom the art world knows to be of extraordinary merit but who have not been fully recognized by the public.