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Netflix and IllumiNative are launching a virtual program to support Indigenous creators.

The IllumiNative Producers Program will give seven Indigenous producers the opportunity to develop a film or TV project. The program is part of Netflix's Fund for Creative Equity.

The producers will also attend training workshops and networking events and will receive creative feedback and mentorship throughout the program. Each fellow will also receive a $25,000 grant to fund their project.

To qualify, applicants must identify as Native, be attached as a producer to a current project with rights to the intellectual property they intend to adapt. The program starts in April. The deadline to apply is Feb. 21.

IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk says the producers program is an important investment in Indigenous producers and our community.

“The producers program is a direct and crucial investment in Indigenous producers and our community," Echo Hawk said in a statement. "By supporting the next generation of Native producers, we can increase Native representation and support authentic stories that showcase the talent and skill of Native storytellers.” — Indian Country Today


Aja DeCoteau grew up on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington, and she fondly remembers fishing in the Columbia River Basin and hunting with her family as she learned about the importance of Indigenous First Foods.

Still, she thought she’d end up working as a medical doctor someday.

Aja DeCoteau at CRITFC’s offices in northeast Portland. (Photo by Leah Nash,

But after high school she got a job with her tribe’s forestry department, and then during breaks and summers in college, she kept finding herself working in natural resources.

“I have great memories of going hunting with my brother and sister and trout fishing with my dad. I feel like I've always had an interest in my environment,” she said in a recent interview. “And, of course, knowing the importance of what we call First Foods to our culture and our religion is something that has always been a part of who I am.” READ MORE. Chris Aadland, and Indian Country Today

A planned meeting at the Vatican between survivors of Canada’s Indian residential schools and Pope Francis has been postponed indefinitely because of a worldwide rise in the Omicron variant of the COVID virus.

A joint statement announcing the delay was issued Tuesday by the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapirat Kanitami, the Métis National Council and the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops.

“After careful assessment of the uncertainty and potential health risks surrounding international travel amid the recent spread of the Omicron variant, the Canadian Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami have jointly decided to reschedule a delegation to the Vatican in December 2021 to the earliest opportunity in 2022,” according to the statement.

The meeting had been set for Dec. 17-20 at Vatican City amid calls for a papal apology for the Catholic Church’s role in the abuse and death of thousands of Indigenous children in Canada’s residential schools. READ MORE.Miles Morrisseau, special to Indian Country Today

Around the world: In Queensland, Indigenous peoples' title rights are recognized after 117 years, illegal mining threatens Indigenous lands in the Philippines, Māori people with disabilities face violence and neglect, Neskantaga First Nation sues northern Ontario over lack of consultation about mineral mining and Otago University names its first Indigenous female dean.

Coverage around the world on Indigenous issues for Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2021. READ MORE. Deusdedit Ruhangariyo, special to Indian Country Today

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Låvda is the world's first Sami screendance festival. We learn more about the upcoming event. Plus, redistricting and the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Tribal communities in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota are working together on a project that would reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Minneapolis-based Native Sun Community Power Development plans to collaborate with Standing Rock Renewable Energy Authority and two dozen other partners to create a network of electric vehicle charging stations.

The Upper Midwest Inter-Tribal Electric Vehicle Charging Community Network will link tribal communities spread across nearly 500 miles in the three states, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $6.7 million grant to get the project going.

Native Sun Executive Director Robert Blake contrasts the plan with oil pipeline projects.

“This is our answer to the fossil fuel industry,” Blake said. “Big oil is going to build pipelines, a thing of the past. We are going to build the future with an EV charging network and will continue to fight for Mother Nature and the sacred.”

The team plans to create 120 electric vehicle charging stations and purchase at least 19 electric vehicles to be used by reservation schools, utilities, casinos and tribal governments.

Standing Rock Renewable Energy Authority and Native Sun are among 25 nationwide projects awarded funding by the Department of Energy. — The Associated Press


CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s most acclaimed Indigenous actor, David Dalaithngu, has died of lung cancer, a government leader said on Monday. He was 68 years old.

David Dalaithngu poses on the red carpet at the 2015 AFI AACTA Awards at the Star in Sydney, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Dalaithngu has died of lung cancer, a government leader said on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. He was 68 years old. (Nikki Short/AAP Image via AP)

Dalaithngu found his widest audiences with his roles in the 1986 hit film “Crocodile Dundee” and in director Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 epic “Australia” in a career that spanned five decades. He was often described as a bridge between Indigenous Australia and the outside world who never fit comfortably in either place.

“It is with deep sadness that I share with the people of South Australia the passing of an iconic, once-in-a-generation artist who shaped the history of Australian film and Aboriginal representation on screen,” South Australia state Premier Steven Marshall said. READ MORE. The Associated Press

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