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Lost happening in and around Indian Country when it comes to Indigenous arts and entertainment talent and Native pop culture.

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Here is the latest Indigenous entertainment news:

If so, it’s off to a strong start.

Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation citizen Stephanie “Pyet” DeSpain is a “Next Level Chef.

DeSpain took the top prize in Fox’s “Next Level Chef” food show.

“To put a Native American, Indigenous woman as your Next Level Chef, I feel like I’m a part of history,” DeSpain said on the show. A clip of her winning was posted by the Next Level Chef Twitter account on Wednesday.

The show, led by Chef Gordon Ramsay, is described as 15 contestants from around the country working to “level up their cooking skills.” The show can be reviewed on Fox Now and Hulu.

In other Indigenous chef news, chefs Crystal Wahpepah, Kickapoo, and Sean Sherman, Oglala Sioux, are in serious running for restaurant awards.

Wahpepah and Sherman are 2022 James Beard award semifinalists. Wahpepah, who runs Wahpepah’s Kitchen in Oakland, is in the Emerging Chef category. Sherman is up for Best Chef, Midwest, and his restaurant, Owamni by the Sioux Chef in Minneapolis, is up for best new restaurant.

Chef Crystal Wahpepah has arrived
Decolonized menu at Owamni by the Sioux Chef

The awards will be announced in the coming weeks. For the entire list of semifinalists, click here.



‘Resident Alien’

SYFY has released a six minute video about Indigenous representation on its popular series, “Resident Alien.

The show follows a crash-landed alien, played by Alan Tudyk, as he identifies as a Colorado doctor with a secret mission. The show also features a number of Indigenous actors, including Kaylayla Raine and Gary Farmer, and includes Native stories. Watch new episodes on Wednesdays on SYFY and Peacock.

Watch video:

‘Our Flag Means Death’

New Taika Waititi pirate comedy is a “swashbuckling success,” according to one reviewer.

The new HBO Max show is about pirates sailing the high seas.

“Waititi's performance is just the right amount of comically understated, subverting the audience's expectations of Blackbeard. At times, he unleashes some of Blackbeard's wild side and injects some delicious unpredictability into a scene,” reads a Mashable review.

Watch trailer:

SuAnne Big Crow film set to premier

BIG CROW,” a film about SuAnne Big Crow, a basketball legend in South Dakota, will premier Friday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The flim “chronicles the legendary influence of the high school basketball state champion SuAnne Big Crow. The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation reveals how her spirit inspires hope to reclaim their culture, thirty years after her death.”

New leader of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous storytelling

Adam Piron can remove the word “interim” from his title after five months as he becomes the permanent director of the Sundance Institute Indigenous program.

Adam Piron, new Director of the Sundance Institute Indigenous Program (Photo courtesy of the Sundance Institute)

Piron, Kiowa and Mohawk, shared his excitement on Twitter after the organization announcement Thursday.

In the role, Prion will “lead Sundance’s engagement and investment in global Indigenous storytellers,” the organization said in a press release. READ MORE. — Kolby KickingWoman , Indian Country Today

A boost for Native creatives in animation

Netflix announced its second mentorship program Friday for early-career creatives looking to break into the animation industry, and this time around the focus is on recruiting Native people and veterans.

The Netflix Animation Foundation is launching another four-month long program and it’s collaborating with IllumiNative and Veterans in Media and Entertainment to identify candidates.

The company wants to build access to the industry for underrepresented talent. READ MORE. — Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins Saturday in Anchorage, Alaska.

An unidentified dog team lunges forward on March 11, 2021, ready to continue on from the midway point of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in the village of Iditarod, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of David Poyzer)

Four Alaska Native mushers expected to compete in the Iditarod this year are Pete Kaiser, the first Yup’ik champion of the Iditarod (2019) and six-time winner of the Kuskokwim 300; Richie Diehl, Dena’ina Athabascan, a past Kuskokwim 300 champ who placed sixth in the 2018 Iditarod and ninth in 2021; Ryan Redington, Inupiaq, a two-time champion of the John Beargrease Marathon in Minnesota and a seventh-place finisher in the 2021 Iditarod; and Apayauq Reitan, Inupiaq, who finished a career-best 28th in the 2019 Iditarod.

The storied race that will take them over 1,000 miles of flatland tundra, treacherous inclines, blizzard-prone summit passes, steep gorge descents, and frigid river overflow. READ MORE— Richard Arlin Walker, Special to Indian Country Today

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