Indigenous artists at Academy of Motion Picture; Trump not welcome; COVID experts meet with Arizona tribal leaders; Native men's health; Weekend entertainment

Motion Picture Academy invites four Indigenous artists

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its membership invitation to 819 individuals to join the organization who have made contributions to theatrical motion pictures.

Four invites went to Indigenous directors and an actress: Sydney Freeland, Sterlin Harjo, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, and actress Yalitza Aparicio. Freeland, Harjo and Tailfeathers are alumni of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Film Program.

“Excited to be a new Academy member along Sydney Freeland and Ella Maija Tailfeathers!!” Harjo wrote on social media.

Freeland, Navajo, is known for her two films, Netflix’s “Deidra & Laney Rob a Train” and “Drunktown’s Finest.” Freeland also directed a couple of Grey’s Anatomy episodes. Harjo, Seminole and Creek, has directed “Mekko” and “Barking Water.”

(Related: Breaking barriers on screen and bringing people together)

Tailfeathers, who is a citizen of the Kainai First Nation and Sámi in Norway, directed “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.”

Aparicio, Mixtec and Triqui, first Oscar-nominated Indigenous actress for her role in “Roma,” was also invited to join the Academy.

Lakotas to Donald Trump: ‘You are not welcome here’

Mount Rushmore (National Park Service)

Maya Eagle has a message for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their supporters: “You are not welcome here.”

Eagle, Oglala Lakota, plans to protest Trump’s scheduled stop Friday to her peoples’ sacred He Sapa, or Black Hills, as part of South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore fireworks event. Eagle and others will be protesting that afternoon in Keystone, a small resort town along Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The Lakota also refer to the Black Hills as Paha Sapa.

“The Black Hills are the heart of everything that lives and breathes,” she said. “The Black Hills are supposed to bring positivity, strength and wisdom. These two men (Trump and Pence) bring the complete opposite.”

Follow us Friday for developments:

Ohio school district retires racist mascot

Protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and advocating for the Forest Hills School district to retire the R-word mascot and logo line Beechmont Avenue in Cincinnati on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Photo by Mary Annette Pember

After more than 20 years of angry debate, the Forest Hills School District board in Cincinnati, Ohio, has voted to drop a high school's R-word mascot and logo.

“It’s been a big community effort; I’m so proud of everyone who hung in with us,” resident Louise Lawarre said of the decision Thursday to retire Anderson High School’s mascot.

The decision comes amid a renewed push to eliminate racist mascots nationwide. Last week, nearly 90 investors representing more than $620 billion in assets sent letters to three NFL sponsors — Nike, FedEx and Pepsi — calling for the termination of business with Washington's NFL franchise until it changes its team name.

On Thursday, FedEx called for the franchise to come up with a new name, and Nike removed the team's merchandise from its online store.

White House’s top COVID-19 official meets with tribal leaders in Arizona

The coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force met with some tribal leaders in Arizona on Wednesday.

Dr. Deborah Birx met with Salt River Pima-Maricopa President Martin Harvier and Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis during her visit to Arizona. The state has seen an increase in coronavirus cases and this week Gov. Doug Ducey has reimplemented restrictions on commercial businesses after easing some in May and June.

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney posted a photo of Birx with tribal leaders on her Twitter page. “A humble thanks to Dr. Birx for meeting with tribal leaders today in Arizona,” she said. The photo included everyone wearing face covering.

Salt River remains under a local emergency declaration and has reported 86 active cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday. Gila River has reported 222 positive cases on the reservation.

In a Wednesday news conference, Ducey said Birx was in Arizona for multiple days visiting with local health and elected officials.


When it comes to health, where do Native men stand?

Men in general are known to be reluctant in getting yearly checkups and general overall preventive care. The overall health of Native Americans is bleak. So how can you make sure the men in your family are taking care of their health?

Dr. Don Warne is the associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as the director of Indians into Medicine program at the University of North Dakota. He was raised in a traditional Lakota family and brings his cultural teachings of the Medicine Wheel into his medical profession.

Weekend entertainment

It’s a three-day weekend. This is what we’ll be watching and listening to ...

  • Concerts: Voices of Siihasin Benefit Concert on Sunday, July 5 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Movies: “Spirit of the Wind,” “Indian Horse,” “Deidra & Laney Rob A Train" by Sydney Freeland and "The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open” by Elle-Maya Tailfeathers, “Skins” on YouTube.
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